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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Engine Musings

Its been a while since I posted about engines, but, as the engine room is coming together, more serious thought is being given. If I had to buy an engine now, it would be a BETA Marine engine. Reasons include the specific features for ease of maintenance, very desireable in a cruising boat. I have heard of a number of Westsail owners who repowered with Beta Marine engines. In fact Bud over at World Cruiser (Westsail support) recommends Beta Marine.

Beta Marine 60



  • Based on Kubota block.
  • Number of Cylinders : 4 
  • Bore and Stroke : 87 X 102.4mm 
  • Swept Volume : 2434cc / 148.5ci 
  • BHP @2700 r/min : 56 
  • Engine Net Weight : 287 kg / 631 lbs 
  • Reliable heat exchanger cooled, naturally aspirated, indirect injection diesel engine.
  • Cast iron cylinder head and block with a gear driven camshaft and sea water pump.
  • Three vortex combustion system for quiet running, excellent fuel consumption, and emission compliance in all countries.
  • Installation angles up to 15° maximum when static, and 25° when heeling.
  • Technodrive or PRM gearboxes. Output rotation is clockwise in ahead viewed from gearbox end
Handy Features:
  • Easy access oil removal hand pumps
  • Easy access raw water pump
  • Second alternator option

Parallel Hybrid Option

The Beta 60 has a parallel electric hybrid option available. Which is essentially a brush-less DC motor with belt drive that can be engaged/disengaged on the transmission output shaft. The DC motor is used to drive the prop shaft directly. Beta's hybrid approach seems to be no-nonsense, simple and easy.

Beta 25 with Hybrid option. The Beta 60 Hybrid would be similar.
While not as sophisticated as other parallel hybrids (which might be considered a good thing). The DC motor parts, used in many other non-marine applications are "off the shelf" and therefore readily available.

"Virtual" test fit of the Beta 60 Hybrid in the engine room. Just enough!

As much as the geek in me appreciates the "green" aspects of hybrid propulsion, I would not consider it for those "green" reasons alone. Especially for a boat the size and weight as that of the Westsail 42. What does make it more compelling is the fact that the electric drive can be reversed for power generation. By engaging the belt drive and running the engine in gear (as when you are motoring), you effectively have a compact DC generator. And, while sailing, you can "free wheel" generate via the propeller. Such a setup eliminates the need for a second diesel engine driven generator, saving space in the engine room.
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