It’s not you, it’s me: A love letter to Yahtzee

Dearest Yahtzee,

Last week came time to remove your old, tired blue engine. You have lived with it your entire life and it has propelled you many a sea mile, but the incessant noise, the constant oil leak and the broken transmission has made the beast too much of a burden to keep around any longer. It was time. 

Sitting in your companionway gazing out over the mountains towering above the boatyard, I waited patiently for the mechanic to arrive and help. Alas, he was overdue. Excited as I was, I devised a way to coax the heavy hunk of machinery from its cozy compartment with the mainsheet attached to the boom and a dock line made fast to the mast. I know what you’re thinking — clever, right? Impatient? Maybe. But I was eager to get that greasy engine out of you.

Sure enough, with a bit of sweat, some muscle, a few choice swear words and Led Zeppelin blaring through the speakers, I pulled “Old Blue” out into the cabin with a thunk and began to lift it skyward. Inch by inch. Up, forward and out it came. Much to my relief, the able mechanic arrived soon thereafter and quickly gave his approval. The grizzled Perkins 4-108 was leaving your homey interior for the outside world.

Working as a team now, the two of us pushed, lifted, pulled and prodded the elderly engine out into the evening air. Yes, we were careful not to scratch your wood or nick your fiberglass (though mistakes happen), and oil streaks were kept to a minimum (mostly). You’re welcome.

In due time, the 34-year-old piece of equipment was being gloriously and gracefully hoisted off the deck and down to the boatyard below. I know you will miss that mighty powerplant that served you well from your birthplace in Italy across the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea and while looping from the South Pacific to Pacific Northwest and up to Alaska. Who can blame you? Certainly not I. But times change, and engines grow old and tired. Such is life.

With that ugly bit of news in our wake, I am happy to inform you that a shiny new Beta 50 with sail drive is waiting to lay claim to your engine compartment. She’s red and we have yet to give her a name (I’ll let you know when we do). We’re working hard to see the project through before winter arrives here in The Great Land. But rest assured, Yahtzee, you will be running again soon — and much better for it.

I Love You,


P.S. Shortly after removing Old Blue I proceeded to fall down your companionway and bruise (break?) a few ribs in the process. Point taken: It’s not you, it’s me.

Enclosed are a few pictures of the procession:

7 thoughts on “It’s not you, it’s me: A love letter to Yahtzee

  1. Wow, so exciting and something I may need to do myself soon. Still hoping the perfect electric system will come out for bigger boats and end the noise forever.

    1. I looked extensively into converting to electric because I really wanted to go that route, but in the end none of the options currently on the market were suitable for long distance cruising.

  2. So was “Old Blue” a conventional Shaft drive, and the new Beta a saildrive? Does that mean cutting a new (BIG) hole in the bottom of the Boat?? Yikes!!

    1. No, our old Perkins had a Bukh sail drive and transmission. The new Beta transmission and sail drive fits the existing hole in the boat, so no need to retrofit the space.

  3. I love this! I, too, can be a sop about boats and boat things. These have soul and they are friends. I get irritated hearing the quip about the best day of your life being the day you buy your boat and the day you sell it – this does not apply to me. Even though my husband and I have the goal of being back on a boat by next spring, I still feel very sad about the “loss” (sale) of our dearest friend, Nanook, a Pacific Seacraft 37 over a year ago. What a sweetheart she was (still is, I’m sure)! She was patient, responsive, and she took very good care of us. Best of luck, Andy!

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