Friday, January 6, 2012

Crew-member Replacement

Sayonara Yoshi. Welcome Genny-san.

Our Yamaha 8 hp outboard, lovingly called Yoshi, has given up his urge to be a fully functioning crew-member aboard Astarte. He's been a problem child ever since we got him – probably a Friday built engine. It was also one of the Yamaha's built in France with french parts. At the beginning, while still under warranty, he had a serious carburetor issue and we fought problems – especially in the Turks and Caicos. In Puerto Rico, we finally thought we solved the issue when Yamaha finally gave in and sent us a new carburetor after six hours with a mechanic. More recently, the flywheel would seize up after it would sit unused for a few days. Plus, it would only running on one cylinder. Michael spent hours and hours working on the outboard and it now was barely getting us to shore. No chance of simply doing dinghy exploring – it was merely transportation (and that was sometimes iffy.)

So, thanks to generous Christmas gifts from our moms (Gen and Trish), we decided to get a new outboard. We shopped around here in Panama City – looking at a variety of brands. Thanks to cruiser web sites and talking to lots of boaters – we narrowed it to another Yamaha or a Tohatsu. We would have gotten another 8 hp Yamaha like the one we had (though with the issues we had we wondered if that was the right idea) because we did have lots of spare parts for it – a propeller. carb bits, hoses and the shop manual. But unfortunately, Yamaha does different models for the states and other areas. All that is available here is the 8 horsepower Enduro engine which is totally different so none of the parts would work. When we called Yamaha US, we also learned they don't carry Enduro parts in the states, so when we went back – the engine couldn't be serviced. Plus, Yamaha frankly has been pretty difficult to deal with here and in the states. And, we had lots of issues with Yoshi. On the other hand, the Tohatsu dealer here, was very helpful. We priced both and negotiated with both and ended up spending many boat units (a boat unit is $100 US). We are the proud owners of a 9.8 Tohatsu outboard. We will welcome it as a crew member today (Friday) and name it Genny-san after Barbara's mom.

With the outboard, we bought several spares to take us across the Pacific and into remote islands. The extra 1.8 horses, should actually get us on a plane. Now we have to keep the dinghy afloat and repair some leaks so the outboard has something to move.

So see ya Yoshi – you were a good crew-member at times. Genny-san, welcome aboard.

Today, we head to a dentist for a check up and teeth cleaning. We're checking things off the list before we depart.

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