I like my Yanmar too, but it's hard to argue with the point that JimGo would be out sailing right now if his new boat had come with an outboard.
I'm not so sure I agree with that. An outboard would be less costly to replace, that's for sure, but if we treat the outboard like I'm treating this inboard (i.e., that I'm not going to do the repair), and assuming I was looking to have it repaired instead of replaced, I think I'd be in basically the same situation - I'd be waiting for the repairs. Now, with an outboard I MAY have been able to take it off the boat and carry it to a shop that wasn't as busy, but my boat is 10,000 lbs. If I recall correctly, a "preferred" HP for that weight is something like 15-20HP. A long-shaft 15HP Tohatsu with remote is 135lbs, and the 20 is about the same weight. I'm not in bad shape and am about average strength, but that's too much for me to muscle myself. My 92lb XLS 9.8 was tough to handle on my own; I can't imagine adding another 40 lbs.
A new outboard would cost about half what the repair costs will be for the inboard, so if we were truly talking dollars, then I am more inclined to agree with you. But even then, I'd likely still need the marina to help do the install unless I could coerce some friends or sailnetters to come lend a hand.
I do agree, though, that starting with a smaller boat makes sense, and I agree with Rick that, had this happened last year when we first bought the boat, we'd probably be looking at how to get rid of the albatross as quickly as possible and wouldn't be back to boating for a long time (if ever).
My biggest gripe, other than the cost!, is with how long this has taken. Had I known 2 months ago that I'd be waiting this long, I might actually have tried to do some of the repairs myself, but that may have hurt me in any discussions with the insurance company.