We fired up the engine. This might seem like a non-momentous occasion until you realize that it has been over a year since it was last started. The fuel lines have been disconnected for a year as Mark began working on the big project marked "plumbing". The plumbing punch list includes not only replacing all of what you would normally consider plumbing- i.e. water lines, toilet lines, etc. but also the fuel lines which feed the engine and generator. It has been an enormous job. You don't realize how big a 42 foot boat is until you decide to totally redo the plumbing lines...or the electrical wiring.
As Mark finished hooking up the fuel lines after his massive over haul of the fuel filtration system, having just finished the seawater lines to the engine and generator, our fingers were crossed. The generator seawater impeller was replaced (more on this later), the engine flushed and the engine was primed using the new fuel pump. It was now or never.
Mark went up to the cockpit, turned the key and...it fired up the very first time. Only sailors who have previously dealt with a cantankerous old diesel engine (are there any other kind of engines?) will understand, but it turned over the first time. The exhaust was not overly smoky, the engine was not belchy, the vibration was noticeably lessened and the exhaust water was sputtering out of the stern as we had hoped. WINNING!!!
Marine diesel repair sounds so simple in the abstract but in reality, every tiny repair or modification is a giant pain in the butt. The simple sounding task of replacing the generator seawater impeller was made incredibly time consuming by just trying to find the right impeller. Our first attempt at ordering one online ended up in us having the absolute wrong one. Turns out we need an Oberdorfer impeller which as far as I can tell is made by one person who lives alone somewhere in the Alps and the parts are delivered to the post only once a month when the snows clear enough to allow the pack goats through. Also, Karl the impeller maker is getting pretty sick of making these so his production is dependent on whether he feels like it or not. So we ordered the right make and the right size, it was the bore diameter which was wrong. We managed to score one on our second attempt and you can bet that we are having Karl whip up another to carry as a spare.
Our dock neighbor Hugh stopped by. Hugh is sort of the Dock Daddy genius, experienced sailor and talented engineer of our dock. His boat, which he designed and had custom built by Tashing is hands down the most perfect and beautiful vehicle for cruising I have ever seen. To say his boat is well thought out and absolutely beautiful would be a gross understatement. I do not covet many things, but his boat is the one thing I would give a kidney for. I say this so you understand how over the moon and chuffed Mark was when Hugh exclaimed that the fuel filtration Mark designed was the most functional, elegant, tidy and practical installation he had ever seen. What took 3 separate filters to do on Hugh's boat, Mark managed to do with only 2 and to retain every bit as much functionality as the 3 filter system Good on ya Mark. I told ya it was something to be proud of.
So now its time to take a moment to sit back and toast the work done on the engine. I say a moment because well, the generator is generating some consternation and difficulties of its own. Of course. Enough so that its going to get a post of its very own. Like I have said before- boats are really stupid.