Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Travel'n Beta

Traveler's new diesel power plant started its life at the Kubota factory in Osaka Japan.  From there it traveled by container ship around the world to the Beta facilities in Gloucester, southwest England. Beta was started by some marine enginerds who's business plan was "to provide propulsion engines to suit individual requirements rather than to the specification dictated by the larger boat buiders." (From their web site)  They set out to capture the re-power market with a line of small diesel engines that are easily customized to fit all sorts of small to medium sized sail and power boats.

I've seen the Beta team many times at the boat show with their bright red engines.  They take the reliable Kubota engine and marinize it. Marinize (to adapt to the harsh marine environment), not Martinize (to run through a dry cleaning facility), which is what you might want to do with that old oily engine you have in your bilge.  Beta adds things like a raw water pump and a heat exchanger and they move the oil filler, filter, and change pump up to the front where you can get at it easily.  They also create custom engine mounts to your specifications so it will fit easily into your engine room.  We shall see later how well that works out for Traveler.

OOCL Mexico with Beta aboard.
Now that I've sent the nine grand to the Beta boys and they have finished the cute little custom engine feet, the beast is finally shipping toward Mexico. It's on the OOCL Mexico, a 963 foot long container ship flagged in Liberia. We snapped a picture of her leaving the UK.  If you look closely you can see the Beta engine strapped down on top of some containers.

Yes, it's a BIG engine.  43 horsepower, but only a third of what you's find in a little Honda Civic! Go figure. It looks even bigger here because of what is know as long distance light refraction.  We sometimes see this in Puget Sound when a large ship is on the horizon and it looks way taller than it actually is.

I've found a couple of web sites where I can track the progress of our big 43 horse Beta as the motor vessel OOCL Mexico carries it on a world tour before dropping her on the wharf in Veracruz Mexico.  In the old days wealthy families would send their fledgling offspring on the "Grand Tour" to round out their education. This European sojourn usually included Rome, Berlin, Athens, and  Paris, to give the traveler a taste of religion, science, art, and sex, in that order.

 But for Beta, we wanted to round out her personality in a more head down, serious, working-ethic manner.  OOCL Mexico has visited Antwerp Belgium, Bremerhaven Denmark, and Le Havre France before heading south for Veracruz. Let's see... she sampled beer in Belgium, pot in Denmark, and wine in France. Sound's like a well rounded education to me!

We'll be tracking her across the Atlantic and get back to you if there are any mishaps aboard, which there could be seeing how many thousands of ships there are going to and fro. Meanwhile, I'm here in Seattle working diligently to raise more cash. There are always unexpected expenses when the kids are off traveling the world.

Some Beta engines get to travel with the road show.

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