Re: Apparently I'm not meant to have a boat...
Just came across your saga, wow! Got me interested enough to join Sailnet! ;-)
My experience, for what it's worth, working on old engines has taught me that if you've got easy access to the engine, replace anything/everything you hold suspect or is approaching/past its useful life (running time or calendar time) on the engine while you have that easy access. It may result in a larger than planned for bill now but it will save you time & $$ down the road. It looks like you've been taking that approach.
Best of luck getting everything back together and splashed. We had our Beneteau's shaft seal and cutlass bearing replaced before we splashed this year. We didn't have to wait nearly as long as you have, but we ran into similar frustrations WRT returning phone calls, keeping us up to date and so forth. We've been in the water 3 1/2 months now and so far, so good.
Hope all works out well!