Sailboat Repower Update!

So, after several months of researching different companies and decisions on which engine to use, we have finally made a decision on who we will have handle repowering our sailboat. What an adventure this has been! Here is a breakdown of what all has happened.

S&W Diesel, Inc.

In looking and asking around, we first came up with S&W Diesel, Inc. They were recommended by a fellow boater at our marina. We called and spoke to someone whom we thought was one of the owners. He scheduled one if his mechanics over to meet with us and take measurements on the stringers that would have to be modified. At this point, we were set on going with a Yanmar and were probably going with the 80 horse. The mechanic told us that he would give the information to the owner and that we could expect an estimate in a week or so. Two weeks past, and nothing. I called and left a message, and also emailed. Another week went by and nothing. I called a total of four times and email several, but no response. The First Mate called, and the woman that answered told her that we “weren’t in the system”. She spent a few minutes taking down the information she needed and told us that someone would call us back. That was about three months ago, and they have yet to contact us. The worry we have about them is that if anything went wrong with the engine while under warranty, they might not be available to help us. No thanks!

On to the next page:


Coast to Coast Marine Diesel, Inc.

sailboat engine


The next contact we made was to Coast to Coast Marine Diesel, Inc. They, too, were authorized Yanmar dealers. The person that answered the phone seemed polite enough, and I made an appointment for their mechanic to have a look at the boat. Their mechanic arrived and surveyed the engine room, took measurements and took down the information he needed. I do have to say that the mechanic was terse, and borderline rude while he was on my boat. He stated that they would not use the local shipyard to pull the engine and install the new and that they really preferred that we take the boat to a shipyard they were accustomed to using. The local yard, Eddy’s, is about a quarter mile from our marina, while the shipyard they wanted to use was over 12 miles away and I would have to get the boat there. He also stated that they would not touch anything until I fixed some of the electrical in the engine room, which I had planned on anyway. That was not a problem. What was a problem is his attitude and arrogance. He finished his assessment and assured me that we would have an estimate within a week or two.

When we finally received their estimate and were taken aback by how much they wanted to charge. They wanted a total of $23,300.00 just for the removal of the old engine and to install the new! They would not have to cut the cockpit sole out or do any major modifications to the stringers, just some fabrication. In fact, they were going to outsource the stringer fabrication. This put us just north of $40k for the repower. Not out of our budget, but certainly WAY on the high side! Here is a breakdown of what they were quoting:

  • Remove old engine: $4,000.00 (yea, I know)
  • Install of the new engine: $16,800.00 (which they stated they would have to install it three times I would suppose for test fits)
  • Stringer modification: $1,500.00
  • Miscellaneous parts: $1,000.00 (they did not specify what parts)

Needless to say, we decided to keep looking, and that is when we found California Yacht Service/R.M. Marine, but more on that below. Besides, we had done more of a search and found a bad review on Yelp and a complaint on the Better Business Bureau, along with a few other people we talked to that did not have a lot of good to say about them.

In the interim of looking for a company to handle the repower, we decided against Yanmar. Why? Well, we found out that the new Yanmars were all computer controlled. After a bit of research on these first-generation engines, it seemed likely that there would be problems. We researched a bit more and decided that Beta Marine diesels would be a better fit. They were not computer controlled, they were all mechanical. They are built on the tried and true Kubota diesel, and parts are available around the world. I contacted the Beta Marine on the west coast and traded emails with John C. Canziani in their sales department. After about six emails we had the information and prices we needed, and John had also contacted their local dealer, which is California Yacht Service/R.M. Marine. John told me that Chris Rinaldi would be calling me to set up a time to survey the engine room. Chris called and we made an appointment to meet.

California Yacht Service/R.M. Marine

On the day of the meeting I had to call Chris and reschedule our 11:00 meeting to the afternoon, which he graciously agreed to meet at 3. We felt bad because this was on the day before Thanksgiving. We ended up being about 45 minutes late because of traffic, but Chris was still gracious. All was not lost for him because he had beensailboat engine working on repowering another sailboat at our marina that morning. Chris spent close to an hour looking around and talking to us about the procedure and gave us a ballpark figure for the labor. He said that it should not go over about $4,000.00. Needless to say, we were shocked! After the $16k plus estimate from Coast to Coast, we were really stoked!

We then talked about Chris handling the cleaning and painting of the engine room and bilge beneath. He said that they would have to remove all the sound proofing that was over head, then degrease and paint. This would be an extra thousand, bringing the total labor for the refit to around $5,000.00. That included cleaning the through hulls and screens, replacing all hoses and battery wires, replacing the fuel filter, and all associated work on the stringers, and the cleaning and painting of the engine room – everything. I think we’ve found the man that is going to handle the repower!

Chris’ company is also an authorized Yanmar dealer, so we have that latitude, if we change our minds, of going with the Beta Marine. The Yanmar is a bit cheaper, but that computer controller still has us worried. The Beta 60 that we were looking at was a little over $17k with transmission, while the Yanmar was around $15k. We have time to ponder which way to go while we are waiting on the formal estimate from Chris.

So, that is where we are with things. We are definitely going to let California Yacht Service/R.M. Marine handle the repower. They come recommended by several places, have good online reviews and NO complaints at the Better Business Bureau. I’ll post again after Chris sends over the estimate.

When we get this done we can have Brett finish the hard dodger!

About Captain Tom

Over 10 years sailing and over 3500 miles under our keel. Was an engineer (EE) for over 30 years, then after moving into management, decided that the corporate world was no longer for me. Ran my wife's law office for 15 years and recently retired. Now we live aboard and sail the California coast, soon to leave for the Sea of Cortez.