Union, NJ… It’s routine for ocean voyagers to familiarize themselves with diesel engine maintenance. With a 10 year circumnavigation just months ahead of him, though, 52 year old Devin Taylor was not content with just understanding how to change fluids and filters, replace a belt or service an impeller.
For Devin Taylor, a lifelong dream was soon to become a reality. Having just retired as an industrial engineer, the time in his life is right to make his lifelong dream a reality. Together with his wife Liz, the Taylors had thought about the voyage over the years with increasing seriousness. Their association with fellow sailors at the Island Packet Owners Association, the Seven Seas Cruising Association, the American Sailing Association and the US Power Squadron, built their confidence and helped them understand the prudent preparation steps. Devin and Liz each committed to building their skills in disciplines that would help them in their travels. They acquired advanced pilot training, celestial navigation, weather and ham radio skills. Liz would learn Spanish and become proficient in first aid. For Devin, the learning was to include French and an understanding of their diesel engine.
Fellow sailboat owners recommended the diesel engine maintenance seminar taught by Larry Berlin at Mack Boring & Parts of Union, NJ. It promised to familiarize Devin with the inner workings of his Yanmar engine. The advice made sense, considering all the “what if’s” that can arise during a 10-year voyage. Devin was very enthusiastic about attending the class at Mack Boring saying, “I was attracted to Mack Boring because they take it much further by allowing students to actually find, touch, and dismantle engine parts.” This type of teaching style gives students more of a hands-on learning experience, better preparing them for engine malfunctions that may occur while out on the water.
Prior to their departure, the Taylors sold their house and spent nine months as “liveaboards,” residing on their 1997 Island Packet 45 “SV Moosetracks” in St. Petersburg, FL. He has owned his IP45 for the last 5 years and has been sailing now for a total of 10 years. The couple set out from Florida as planned on December 12, 2012 and sailed to the Bahamas, where they will stay for a couple of months. From there, they will sail up the East Coast to Long Island, returning to the Caribbean following hurricane season. Their plans to date are to spend 12 months around Trinidad and then head off towards the Panama Canal. They are not yet sure where they will end up after their stay in the Panama Canal area, but they are hoping for smooth sailing for the duration of their journey.
Devin feels much more comfortable about his trip now with the knowledge he obtained from the engine course taught at Mack Boring, saying, “The confidence to tackle larger projects was something I will really appreciate and value. This is something you certainly want to practice before doing it alone in a remote anchorage.” The highlight of the course for him was entirely stripping his Yanmar 4JH2-TE down to the block and then completely rebuilding it to have the engine start again by his own doing.
Leaning on his discipline as an industrial engineer, Devin comments that “I have discovered in my career that I really learn systems by hands-on use and the diesel engine was no exception. The course allowed me to dismantle 3 engines similar to my own and thoroughly understand the practice of how to service them, replace worn or damaged parts and bleed the air from the fuel lines to re-start. We literally removed every major part from the engine; raw water pump, fresh water pump, fuel pump, fuel injection pump, valve assembly, fuel injectors, head, starter motor, turbo, heat exchanger and lots of ancillary parts. Some very useful insight was also gained as to how the wear on each engine differed and the instructor, Larry Berlin, was very versed in their history so he could relate to how the wear, or lack of, came into being.”
The knowledge gained at Mack Boring, as part of their in-depth training regimen, should aid Devin and his wife enjoy a happy and safe 10-year voyage and ultimate return home.