It seems that a significant part of pain was caused by gear failures.
The engine I now understand was just a bad installation.
The autopilot seemed to be a constant problem.
What brand was it?
Do you think a heavier duty model would have held up better?
After 6 years of experience do you think it would be possible to maintain an engine, in such a way as to dramatically reduce the number of failures.
IE: Have a schedule where you do Item 1 every 20 hours, Item 2 every 50 hours etc.?
I really didn't like how random and often your engine failed.
The autopilot was a Raymarine Electric RAM and a) wasn't able to handle the tonnage (25) that its rating showed or was confirmed by Raymarine when purchased. And their design of plastic gears engaging with metal gears is just d-u-m-b.
Additionally, the installer made the mistake of installing to the rudder post rather than the steering quadrant. We finally replaced the system with a HYDRAULIC autopilot which was the only way to go for a boat our size (50 feet, 25 tons). I think one of the points I make in the book is that I didn't know everything before departing--no one does and if you wait until you're the expert, you'll never leave. You don't have to be the expert to pursue a passion, you become an expert AS you pursue your passion.
To your second question of maintenance schedules, THOSE we had. Daily, weekly, monthly, by the # of engine hours, etc. But they don't cover blown heat exchangers, clogged filters, cracking metal fuel hoses, engine alignment, etc. These things are random and while we expected our engine very very regularly, and performed scheduled maintenance and even our own more often schedules, the random things happen. Salt and daily use takes a toll on everything at sea.