CREA­TURE COM­FORTS

Yachting - - EDITOR’S LETTER - pa­trick sci­acca Ed­i­tor-in-Chief pa­trick.sci­acca@yacht­ing­magazine.com

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.

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