CALL ME NOSTALGIC, BUT IT FELT LIKE GOING BACK TO BOATING AS A KID, WHEN WE HAD NONE OF THE NOW-EXPECTED AMENITIES.
What do you mean then espresso machine won’ t work? It’ s a phrase that was said in jest, and in unison, by our seven-man crew during a recent guys’ trip. The vessel’s generator, which has several years on it, started acting cranky a few weeks prior to our annual getaway. No generator meant no head. No ice machine. No fridge. No range. No air conditioning. (It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 80 percent humidity.) ¶ Similar to how once you hit 40 years old, every morning is the discovery of a new ache in a place you didn’t know could hurt, the same seems to go for gensets. Our vessel’s owner is meticulous when maintaining his pride and joy. If something breaks, he fixes it. Stat. If equipment needs to be replaced, rebuilt or refit, he does it. ¶As a longtime captain, he understands the “stuff happens” life of boat ownership. But that dang generator raised his blood pressure on this trip. Prior to departure, he and his mechanic had gone over the genset with a fine-tooth comb. The heat exchanger was boiled out and in perfect working order. Filters were swapped. Hoses were new. We ran south for the first 150 miles with the unit humming like new. ¶ During our second day, the genset sputtered out about six hours into the day. It was back-to-basics boating: bags of ice and lots of water. We averaged a case or two of H2O per day, given the cloudless skies and equatorlike weather. Call me nostalgic, but I felt like I had gone back to boating as a kid, when we had none of the now-expected amenities. I kind of liked it. ¶ However, our owner spent each morning in that hot-as-hades engine room, trying to get the generator working. I went to the local ship’s store and picked up a new Racor. That didn’t help. The genset shut down altogether a few hours later, on day three. ¶ My brother said, “It’s got to be heat or fuel.” We agreed. The bowl was cleaned. Nothing was left to chance. On days four, five and six, we got about halfway through each run before the generator turned into the little engine that couldn’t. ¶ After the owner’s seventh morning in the engine room, and with almost every part replaced, the unit seemed 100 percent for the return trip. I turned on the range and made breakfast for everyone, and we began our five-hour run. ¶ About an hour from our home port, the generator shut down. Again. But hey, at least we had our Nespresso first.