Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Project Planning

When we were out sailing on Stella Blue there were several major items that we wanted to fix when we had enough time to haul the boat and work on her. (We have an endless list of smaller projects but these are just the two biggies.) Now that we are at Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage for a while, we have begun planning for our two major projects.

First we want to remove the old engine and install a new one. This is called “repowering” in the nautical world and we’re really looking forward to our new engine.  The original Westerbeke was a great engine but it was long in the tooth and we knew it was just a matter of time before it started having issues that our limited skills would not be able to easily fix. Also, with our desire to cruise to more remote places we really felt that we needed an extremely reliable engine. We have selected the Beta Marine 38 for our new engine. We have numerous friends who have Betas and everyone seems to find them reliable. The Beta will have more power, lower fuel consumption and is designed to be easily serviced.

Beta 38. You can see how all the items we will need to have access to
for servicing are at the front of the engine.  Baxter is SO excited!

Our second major project is to replace all of our plastic portlights with stainless steel portlights. Currently, we have several of the plastic portlights that are so sun damaged that you can’t see through them.  The damaged portlights diffuse the light below badly making it darker below than it should be. Additionally, several of the lights leak and, if we were to keep them, would need to be rebedded or replaced. 

A pretty cool company in Washington state, New Found Metals, makes a stainless steel portlight that is a direct replacement for our plastic ones. When I say “direct replacement” I mean that a new portlight should fit in the current portlight’s hole with about 8 hours worth of labor for each portlight.  The portlight replacement project is worth the time and money involved, as it will improve the safety and appearance of Stella Blue. 
Pretty stainless New Found Metals portlight.
Compare the new portlights with the old look and you can imagine what a difference this project will make!

View of the starboard side old ports.


  1. Awesome. We repowered with a Beta 38 (from a Perkins M50) and so far we really like it.

    1. Hey Tate! Glad to hear that you like your Beta. We're exciting about the new engine. Looks like you have your hands full with wiring right now. Man, I don't envy you! :>)

    2. Still yet to be seen which is worse, the wiring or the repower! We repowered in the Louisiana Summer heat and it dang near killed me. I hope your project goes well. Look forward to reading about great successes. =)

  2. oh Yeah! new Engine and portlights. It's like Christmas over there too!