Just thinking…

Most of you know that we broke our crankshaft on our Westerbeke 40 in at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle while charging the batteries at anchor on January 11, 2014.  At the time it seemed like a really BIG problem:

MAN power plant in Kiev 1904

We replaced the Westerbeke 40 with a Beta 30 and called her “George”!

Beta 30 Engine

George? She is doing fine, young as she is, we worry.  However, in the last crossing, her first real test she performed above and beyond the call to duty. George is a Beta 30 ordered on February 11, 2014, imported into Puerto Vallarta, MX directly from Beta Marine LTD in Gloucester England on March 29, 2014,  installed (by us) on March 30-31, 2014 at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Jalisco Mexico and first started April 01, 2014…

Now, after sea trials we understood we were “over prop’ed” moderately since we could only make 3300 RPM with our old prop.  And still when we were beating (bashing) into a 30+ knot wind and 10 to 15 foot seas she took a WOT (wide open throttle) of around 3300+ RPM.  So running at 3000 instead of our cruising 2400 RPM allowed is to make minimum of 3 to 5 knots (when the bow was above the waves)!

Not too shabby… Atta girl George!

When we voted for the 30 HP, 3600 RPM engine as a replacement for the Westerbeke 40, which have considerably different design power curves, we were worried about having made the correct decision.  We opted for a motor which, by design seemed to be on the low end of motor one would specify for our 1978 Tartan 37 hull #82.

We thought of another way to do some research on the motor specification issue.  A great source is the http://sailboatdata.com/  database, it is however a bit tedious to search for information.  I searched for  “1976 36 diesel” and found some sailboats similar to our Tartan 37 with the following engines specified ae OE:  Red lines below show similar displacement vessels with 30 HP or smaller engines…

Boat Name                     Engine Mfgr.         Model           HP       Boat Wt.(lbs)

Tartan 37 (1976)                    Westerbeke                 40                     38 HP     15500

Islander 36                              Pathfinder diesel       50                    42 HP      13450

West Indies Morgan 36      Volvo Penta diesel     MD-2B           25 HP     17000

Magellen 36                            Volvo                                                        25 HP     16300

Medway 36 Westerly           Volvo Penta                  MD 3B            36 HP     16125

Ericson 36C                             Westerbeke                  Pilot 20           20 HP    17200

Islander Freeport 36             Perkins                           4.108              42 HP     17000

Yamaha 37 (1983)                  Yanmar                          3G MF            20 HP     14330

Island Trader 38                     Volvo Penta                  MD 17C           36 HP     26400

Alpa 38                                       Mercedes                                                 48 HP     18000

Pearson 38 (1989)                  Volvo Penta                                              25 HP    15175

C&C 36-1  (1977)                     Yanmar                          3QM30             30 HP    12000

Dufour 9000 (1979)               Perkins                           4.108                42 HP    19841

Hunter 356 (2000)                Yanmar                                                       27 HP    13900

Catalina 36 mkII (1994)       Universal                                                    35 HP    15000



She, George, runs great and got us out of a pretty tight spot with power to spare, what more can you say?

Work list:

Stuff we are taking care of on the “to do list” this week at dock at La Paz Marina in order to make it a busy week:

Fix the compass light: Usually we are our own worst enemies!  It turns out I flipped pos and neg wires when moving the wires for the compass light that had run through the engine compartment…  Also found a loose connection in the NMEA wiring while checking the system for the compass light problem which may solve another intermittent autopilot tracking error we have been getting.  Good news.

Intermittent fault in the auto pilot rudder feedback circuit is still consistently not showing up even with all the wire twisting and tugging if connectors and splices!

Windless needed greased, cleaned, and sealed up again…  We took it apart and broke the seals when it jammed up on a chain knot when dropping anchor back in Jaltimbe, so now it has been cleaned greased and re-sealed!

Checked torque on the engine fasteners, Jess borrowed a torque wrench and all was well!  Good news.

Tightened the shaft log packing so it drips about 2 times a minute while at rest.  We will keep a check on the running temp and make sure it is staying cool while running!

Noted that the final alignment work, transmission to prop shaft, done in Mazatlan before the last trip has reduced the running vibration considerably!  Checked fasteners and all is tight. Good News.

Washed down the cabin and sent bedding to laundry.  We had left the cabin roof hatches only latched and not sealed and when the wind kicked up and the bow buried in the waves,  we took a little water through the cabin roof hatches.

Noted the chain plate covers we added in La Cruz have sealed up the intermittently leaking chain plates. Good news!

Washing boat, cleaning bottom (that which we can reach from dock with a long handle brush) washing salt out of lines, etc.




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La Paz or bust…

Maybe it is more accurate to say La Paz and bust?  Just a cruisers joke.  What broke this trip?

When last we posted, we were in the old Mazatlan harbor.  We then moved up the coast to Marina Mazatlan for a one night stay.  We got fuel, did a re-alignment on the motor to prop shaft skipped a couple other important issues on the “to do list” and headed out to start crossing the Gulf of California to FINALLY get over to the state of Baja California Sur and to the town of La Paz.  We are excited to see our great friends Liz and Alan on svVivacia!

Old Mazatlan harbor anchorage and El Faro (The Lighthouse):


Marina Mazatlan:


Leaving Mazatlan Thursday April 17, 2014 around 9:30AM here is a 3d image from Max Sea showing the route 245 Nm:

maz to la paz


Sunset and sunrise?


We were too busy to photo the next bits.  After an uneventful 40 hours or so, we got the the north end of Isla Cerralvo at about 3:00 AM.  There the depth goes from 500 ft to 50 ft and back to 500 or so…  The wind also swung from a nice beam reach to a bash, head on, and got up to around 30 knots.

So what on that “to do list”  turned out to important this trip?  The compass light was out, we knew it was out, we needed it!  When it’s 3:00 AM and you are bashing you need two hands just to stay in the cockpit of the vessel so when one is busy holding a flashlight on the compass so you can hand steer by compass because your auto pilot is not working because it has an intermittent short that only seems to happen when bashing into a 30 knot wind and 10 to 15 foot seas coming over the bow etc. etc. etc…

We did get a little nervous when the SOG (speed over ground) went down to zero and the  tachometer  still read the 2500 rpm we had been cruising at for the last couple hours.  But it turns out in those seas you need to bump the engine speed up a little in rpm and you can still progress.  We ran it up to 3000 to 3200 and started to do around 3 to 4 knots so we could get through the rough part of the pass north of the island.  We ran over to Bonanza beach on Isla del Espiritu Santo and dropped anchor on Saturday at sunrise about 8:00 AM and slept til noon.  The wind blew 25 knots out of the south most of the way from Isla Cerralvo to the anchorage.

lsal cerralvo

We were following, or ahead of, sv Cricket and sv Lotus the whole way and we all had our trials and tribulations.  Cricket got stung with one after another inconvenience:  jib furler line broke or broke a block, plugged fuel filter from the rough seas and stuff shaking loose in the fuel tanks and clogging the filters( lotus loaned them a filter wrench (on the fly) and they got  that fixed), beat their way through the 30 knot headwinds/seas at the pass,  got to Bonanza anchorage and while anchoring, lost power on the windless and fouled the propeller on a line that shook loose from their deck stowage during the night…  They did at the last minute set anchor in 12 foot of water and all was well.  We helped then free the line by diving on it using our air compressor/regulator system and a sharp knife the next morning!  Hey it works!


We left new friends at Bonanza beach around 2:00 PM and ran the last 21 nautical miles over to La Paz getting in around 5:00PM Sat April 19, 2014.  George ran GREAT!

Bonanza on Isla del Espiritu Santo to La Paz photos:


We took up residence in slip 210 at Marina La Paz where Alan and Liz were at dock (again) welcoming us into a another lovely marina.  Alan had run around and worked some kind of magic so we had a slip to pull into where there are NEVER slips available!  Alan is my hero!




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Gegg-fest 2014!

We met Colin and Wendy Gegg in Mazatlan last summer.  We all had a lovely first get together at Mr. Leones at Playa Bruja in Cerretos, north of Mazatlan. So in recognition of their fantastic accomplishment of making it to the Marquesas after leaving PV of the Pacific Puddle Jump, we thought it a good idea to return to Playa Bruja and toast their success ie. Gegg-fest 2014!  Find them bloggin’ and spottin’ at:

https://share.delorme.com/WendyGegg   (password is “PuddleJump”)


Happy crossing Shellbacks from us lowly Pollywogs!  We toast you with the best mango margaritas we could find:


Where the music plays all day: DSCN0097_1024x768 DSCN0109_1024x768


Que la via bien!


On the way back to El Faro, the boat, from Playa Bruja the bus got in a wreck when a motorcycle tried to pass on the left during the buss left hand turn!  Jess did the immobilization of the boys head/neck until the ambulance arrived:  Jess is the one in the purple/blue top on her knees in the street keeping the boy from moving his head/neck.  Probably a broken leg, maybe head and neck injury, in and out of consciousness for the 15 minute wait for the ambulance…

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Mazatlan Déjà Vu

We are back in Mazatlan, came in yesterday around 11:00 AM.

We had a nice trip up the coast, from Mantanchen Bay to Mazatlan.  We ran into the FOG around 3:00 AM about 25 KM south of Mazatlan.  It cleared around 11:00 AM and we hailed the Harbor Master ( Jess hailed the harbor master ) and came into the OLD harbor.

It is busy enough with ferries, sport fishers, cargo ships, etc. that they require a “control”.  Harbor master ask Jess, “How far can you see out there?”  When the fog lifted, it only took about 15 to 30 minutes to clear.  We guess he was holding a couple sport fishers in so they shot out past us on the way in.  Soon as you clear the break water here you hang a hard left and coast into the small repair/mooring/anchorage area…  Only a couple other cruisers in here today so we joined them.  It’s 50 peso a day for the dock privileges, they have wifi on shore, can’t seem to get it out at anchor.  There are restrooms and supposedly showers.  Jess said they are cold water?  At times we get a whiff of the treatment plant across the road…

There is a bit of small ferry/tour boat traffic so they come and go most of the day and by their courses, they make you think that maybe this is not an anchorage?

George is good!

A little lonely in there all by herself…


I looked back at the past few blogs and see that I have not kept up with the BREAK-IN story so here is the missing stuff:

Break-in was, after install and align, run at 2/3 throttle for 15 minutes.  If all was well, sea trials were 15 min at 1/2 throttle, 15 min at 3/4 and 15 min. at full throttle.  We found at that time that our Wide Open Throttle (WOT) at dock was 2700 rpm.  All worried I started to look at and get price estimates on propellers which need less Horse Power (HP) than our little Beta 30 seems to have.  I also had a chance to clean the keel and propeller while diving for some missing parts from the dinghy before we left Puerto Vallarta (PV).  Turns out that cleaning the keel and propeller has helped us pick up about 600 rpm towards WOT of 3600.  We can now get 3300 RPM in calm(ish) water and when motor sailing, with favorable winds, I saw 3500 RPM.  We are rethinking the propeller changing scenarios.  It is not so critical as it seemed at 2700 RPM WOT, but may still need to be changed?

We changed her, George’s, oil yesterday and will do transmission ATF today. The BETA break-in book says 30 hours and we had about 32 on her coming into harbor yesterday.  Checking oil, water, transmission fluids before every trip-leg, and at 8 hour intervals during longer motor trips.

Our dilemma with the oil fill level has finally ended.    Back story:  Opened new motor crate, put in the 5 liters requisite oil.  Read the dip stick and it was over full by a couple inches and at that level hard to read the dip stick?  We pumped the sump dry and retrieved the 5 liters back into containers.  OK!  Must be correct?  So we put it back in and installed the motor into the boat at the 14 degree flywheel down angle.  Dip stick still reads over full by 2 inches?  After starting, and cooling we checked oil and still overfull.  Beta suggested we remove oil until it reads mid full on the dip stick.  We did this and removed about 2.5 liters of oil.  Huh?  We continued through sea trials and break in watching closely ( every starting cycle and every couple hours during run cycles).  Engine oil level stayed at mid dip stick level.  At the oil change yesterday we were careful to remove all the oil, just over 4 liters and the old filter oil too.  Put in 5 liters new oil and we get a slightly over mid dip stick reading.  Our conclusion is that the motor, as shipped, still had around 2 liters oil trapped in the block someplace and when we put in the 5 liters on dock, we overfilled her.  It all makes sense now, my grey and grey world is a little more black and white today!

The sound insulation really keeps the heat up in the motor compartment and down in the crew quarters.  We are keeping an eagle eye on that.  We have lots of ventilation and our handy dandy $17 laser IR thermometer gun says that the maximum motor temp is around 165 deg. F and the shaft log is staying under 95 deg. F and dripping nicely.  Might add a 12v ventilation fan to the system in the near future.

IR gun:  Cooling fan: 

Under the category of FYI and/or fun things to know and tell (again maybe? ) – We added a 167 deg. F. thermal switch ( Ebay two for $11.70 delivered )  to the exhaust system just after the mix elbow.   Search for “Thermal Switch Normally Open 75℃” on EBAY or ??   The IR laser gun says the exhaust is staying under 95 deg. F.  Similar to photo below, but not so clean and new an installation, we mounted the sensor at the top of the flexible 2″ hose above the silencer can and below the mix elbow, on the top of the flex 2″ hose coming from the exhaust mix elbow.


The sensor thermal switch will close when it hits 167 deg. F ( 75 deg. C  ).   I wired it into the existing circuit that was left over for LOW OIL ALARM from the old motor. It made installation VERY EASY for us.   You can buy these systems for around $50 to $85USD which include a panel, wiring, etc!


The switch will close and sound the alarm if the flow of RAW water through the exhaust mixer is slowed considerably.  This might happen if BOAT ingests a plastic bag or ANYTHING that plugs up the raw water supply.  THEORY is that this point on the exhaust will heat to above 167 deg. F. very quickly, sounding the alarm so you can STOP THE ENGINE without harming anything in the engine, check the raw water strainer, swim down and clear the intake through hull, change the impeller, prime the raw water pump and start her up again.  All before slamming onto the rocks just downwind. Hey! that sounds cynical…

SOME PHOTOS – Mantanchen Bay before leaving…


Mazatlan Harbor, the old one!  As the fog lifts…






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On the road? Again!

We left Banderas Bay around noon.  Motored to Punta de Mita and sailed about half the way up to Jaltembe, motored the rest.  We now have about 6 hours total on the new Beta 30. We can actually talk to each other while the motor is running!

To all techies, it turns out that cleanliness or propeller and hull may make a tremendous impact on figuring out if your prop is too big for your new motor.  During sae trials we ran George, her, up and could only get to about 2700 rpm wide open throttle (wot).  We had lost a bit from the dinghy, Mate, off the dock in the marina, so Jim rigged up the hooka and dove for it. While there, under the boat, why not clean up the keel and prop a bit.  It was not too bad, only done 4 weeks back.

And now our WOT is closer to 3300 in on the bay.  Motor/sailing we hit 3600 ish rpm!

so now I think we will run it with this prop for a bit and see how it shakes out! 16 x 12 RH 3 blade fixed bronze prop. On the Beta 30 on the Tartan 37…

Pretty new panel:






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Do try this at home

A little vinegar, sugar and water and we (Jessica really) are finding that you can pickle lots of goodies (even pickles).   For the Pollo Pibil, (Barbequed chicken) you NEED some pickled onions so why not add a serrano pepper for a little kick and some (radish so red, radish so red, …delicious) and carrots?  For the pibil recipe, you will have to ask Jessica!


More fun facts!

It took 8 weeks for a letter posted in Great Britain to reach us here in Mexico.  The letter was an order confirmation for the new engine that we received  a week ago!


Moving right along:

We are going to head out of the Banderas Bay area and start north for Mazatlan.  One step at a time.  (maybe on to La Paz after a stay in Mazatlan?)

The motor has passed sea trials, we can get 2700 rpm, about 5.5 knots, with the prop we have ( we knew it might be a bit large for the new motor on this boat) and so we are heading out tomorrow or Wednesday.

We will stay close to shore, maybe 5 miles ±  offshore and try to take some advantage of the daily winds that move from onshore to offshore direction due to the daily heating and cooling of the land. An affect of the sun!

We will use the SPOT along the way.


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Judo in Sayulita Spring 2014


Sensei Mario, Adela, and their staff at Casa Duende and the judoka from Tepic all worked very very hard to make this last weekend a very memorable one!

Jessica and I took turns confusing and then straightening out the judo classes!  Hey it’s what we do!

Casa Duende:

DSCN0054_1024x768 DSCN0058_1024x768 Judo folks!

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