Re: Repower confusion (horsepower)
Chef- I had it down to a short list of the Beta 60 and the Cummins 3.3 from Transatlantic Diesel (65hp). I also looked into the Yanmar and Volvo but rejected both because they use a turbo and I wanted naturally aspirated (I have nothing against turbos on larger diesels but feel they are an unnecessary complication for small sailboats). I did not look at Westerbeke mainly because of the comments about high parts prices I have read here (I have Volvos, been there, done that), but I'm sure they are good engines and maybe I didn't give them a fair shot. The Cummins is a great engine but Transatlantic is the only place that marinizes them and there aren't too many around. I also talked to a Cummins rep and he questioned whether Cummins would honor the warranty(I think they would) in a marine application (they're an industrial engine) which gave me some doubts. I rejected it because I want to go with something more mainstream.
In my former business I had several pieces of equipment that used Kubota engines and they were reliable and almost impossible to destroy, even though we ran them in the absolute worst conditions imaginable. Beta has a good reputation and people with them seem universally happy with them based on the threads here on SN. I like the fact that they aren't trying to squeeze every last HP out of the engine by using a turbo and intercooler, and that it's a slow rpm engine with a fairly flat torque curve so it should be able to maintain speed into rough weather. I also want to reduce the noise of the engine in the pilothouse and the lower rpm should help a lot with that (the Cummins puts out almost 55 hp at 1800 rpm, which was a big plus in my book). After actually seeing a couple of the Betas at the show I was pretty impressed with how they've done things, it looks simple and I didn't see anything that I didn't like. Beta also offers custom mounts which will make the installation a lot easier (current engine has much wider mounts than most and at two different elevations). I also liked that even though I was set on the 60 HP model the Beta rep spent quite a bit of time convincing me that I didn't need it and could save money by dropping down to the 38 or 43 hp model (big savings for me, much smaller sale for them).
Bottom line, I think almost all of the various engines offered are probably good, you just need to find one that you're comfortable with and doesn't pose too many difficulties changing over from what you currently have.
SV Laurie Anne
1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse