On April 9th... Easter... and my birthday, Captain Otto and myself departed Saba bound for Georgia to attend training to learn more about maintaining the OXE Marine Diesels that power both Shark Bait and Fin & Tonic (more on that in the next post).
The trip started out great! The Makana Ferry Service's second boat, the Samantha II, was quite a comfortable ride from Saba to Sint Maarten, even with the heavy seas. Good company made the trip fly by. We had quite a layover before our 4 pm flight to Miami, so we walked over and had an excellent breakfast at Chesterfields.
The next day, we rented a car and found our way through rural Georgia to the town of Albany, where we met up with the Team and OXE and enjoyed a few beers and a good steak!
The first day of the course began with an overview of how the engines operate electrically. Absolutely fascinating how different these engines function compared to the diesel inboard engines in our other boats. Specifically, the 200 HP (which we have) is so simple! I firmly believe in KISS (Keep it stupid simple) and these engineers did an excellent job keeping it simple. I don't want to bore you with the details, so instead, have a look at some pictures :)
The remaining days mostly consisted of reading log files, learning how to perform all of the services, and troubleshooting engines in a test tank. My personal favorite was learning how to read the log files and get the story out of them. It is amazing how much you can learn from watching what the engine is doing second by second. For example, we had a log file from an engine that suffered "shifting and performance issues". We found a sequence where the engine was running at 25% throttle, 5% trim, then it abruptly when to 15% trim and then back to 5%, while the throttle went to 100% and the prop rpm dropped to 0. The driver had hit something, knocking the bottom of the outboard off the engine. When he hit something, his hand was on the throttle causing it to go to full as the driver was thrown forward. The prop RPM dropped to 0 as the prop was ripped off the engine. All of this happened over 10 lines in a 65,000-line spreadsheet.
In summary, it was a FANTASTIC class and we can't wait to get home, feeling much more confident to keep our equipment running in top shape so that we can spend more time diving, and less time on maintenance.
What are your thoughts on Diesel Outboard Engines? Let's talk about it in the comment section!