Thursday, February 26, 2015

Repowering our Old Alberg 30?


During our refit I have given some thought to perhaps repowering our Alberg 30 with a new propulsion system. It's not that the one we have is not adequate, it is just old. Why not replace Sal's Atomic 4 while she's here at the house?


Here is a picture of the Atomic 4 that we have now. She is still a very good engine, but it's old technology and uses quite a bit of fuel, not a good option for cruising beyond America. She was rebuilt back in 2008 by A4 gurus at Moyer Marine, and hasn't really been any trouble for us. 

(picture from Betamarine.com)
Here is what I would like to put into our Alberg 30, a Beta 14 Diesel. This engine uses probably 1/3 the fuel of the Atomic 4, and diesel on a sailboat is safer than gasoline. So why not? Well, the $8,000 price tag. That's about 5000 extra reasons why this will not be at the top of the list.


(picture from starmarineinc.com)
Next consideration is the outboard. While not exactly designed to push a boat of Sal's size, in calm water it does just fine. I have seen several cost-conscious cruisers with boats similar to ours using this option. It frees up space on the inside of the boat and uses about 2/3 the fuel of our current system.
(picture from Thunderstruck.com)
Next there is electric power. I really like this option for some reason. No more fuel costs other than batteries (every 5-6 yrs). This system's only draw back is range. The large battery bank needed to supply a decent range is just not practical on a boat of our size. But let's face it, our Alberg is a sailboat...how much should we be motoring anyway?

These are our choices and I am still doing the research on each. Each option has its pros and cons and I will be weighing them out here on the blog during the coming months.
What are your thoughts on powering a sailboat?

8 comments:

  1. Hi Jason, I'm excited about following your re-power decision making process. The A30 I just purchased is missing the engine. I really like the idea of using an outboard in a motor well similar to the one built by James Baldwin for Salsa, another A30, as well as a few other similar boats. But, as you mentioned in your post, lack of power in a strong blow or current is a concern.

    On a totally unrelated subject, I sent you another email about your trailer, less than 30 minutes ago. I think the first one may have gone to your spam folder or lost to cyberspace. Please look for it. I look forward to your input.

    Thanks
    Chip Dance
    s/v Natalie B

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    1. I will try to document my thought process and decision making on the subject but not sure it will be very coherent! :)

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  2. Personally, I'd stick with an inboard engine. The Beta seems to be a good choice. What I've seen, there's a lot of satisfied users. Downside, they're quite expensive. If you did this switch, wouldn't you have to change out the fuel tank too?

    Where is your fuel tank located? On my boat, it's under the engine, in the keel. I'm looking into replacing the fuel tank and the past two weeks, I've been researching the likelihood of building a fiberglass tank in-place. It would be a messy job but I think it could increase fuel capacity as well. I've talked to a few people about it and it seems like it could be a good option. Just a LOT of work if I went that route.

    Another reason I think inboard engine, it'll be better for keeping batteries charged with a good sized alternator. My Yanmar 2GM seems to have the standard 35amp Alt., but I want to get one capable of more. (yet another item on the list of things to do.)

    If you want an outboard but a way to charge the batteries, maybe consider solar? I'm looking into that one too.

    (long post, sorry) :-)
    Take Care,
    Daniel

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    1. Dan, Luckily or unluckily(not sure it thats a word) our boat does not have a tank in it at the moment. We sailed her for 3 yrs with a day tank and for the most part always had plenty of fuel.
      I almost scored a beta 16 the other day but hesitated and missed out. Maybe a diesel just wasnt meant to be. Our boat will surely have solar but probably not enough to put a dent in running and electric motor, well maybe a dc fan motor :)
      Thanks for posting

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  3. Since you're asking, and not because I'm an expert, I say go with the BetaMarine. The outboard, although practical in its simplicity, would have a tough time of it if you REALLY needed it in a pinch. Electric power is a neat idea, but probably only practical with either massive solar banks or a dedicated diesel generator. That leaves the BetaMarine: pricey, but simple and reliable. You'll get another 20+ years out of the inboard diesel. Whatever you choose, I'm going to have fun watching! Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for replying, I called Beta the other day and a 16hp was $9697....Way beyond what I want to pay for an engine. I know they are simple and efficient but boy are they expensive...that doesnt even included all the other stuff needed to make it work. I've got alot of thinking to do.
      Thanks again.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for replying, I called Beta the other day and a 16hp was $9697....Way beyond what I want to pay for an engine. I know they are simple and efficient but boy are they expensive...that doesnt even included all the other stuff needed to make it work. I've got alot of thinking to do.
      Thanks again.

      Delete
  4. What about finding a used low-hour diesel? Surely there must be a few of those kicking around that might work. I've got the Westerbeke 20B. Any of those (or something similar) kicking around on Ebay or the local classifieds?

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