The painting was accomplished in the Florida Strait, as was something even more important. Wegener had been on the bridge, napping in his leather chair during the forenoon watch when the growler phone rang, and Chief Owens invited him to the engine room. Wegner arrived to find the only worktable covered with plans, and an engineman-apprentice hovering over them, with his engineering officer standing behind him. “You ain’t gonna believe it,” Owens announced. “Tell him, sonny.” “Seaman Obrecki, sir. The engine isn’t installed right,” the youngster said. “What makes you think that?” Wegner asked. The big marine diesels were of a new sort, perversely designed to be very easy to operate and maintain. To aid in this, small how-to manuals were provided for each engine-room crewman, and in each manual was a plastic-coated diagram that was far easier to use than the builder’s plans. A blow-up of the manual schematic, also plastic coated, had been provided by the drafting company, and was the laminated top of the worktable. “Sir, this engine is a lot like the one on my dad’s tractor, bigger, but – “ “I’ll take your word for it, Obrecki.” “The turbocharger ain’t installed right. It matches with these plans here, but the oil pump pushes the oil through the turbocharger backwards. The plans are wrong, sir. Some draftsman screwed up. See here, sir? The oil line’s supposed to come in here, but the draftsman put it on the wrong side of this fitting, and nobody caught it, and –“ Wegener just laughed. He looked at Chief Owens: “ How long to fix?” “Obrecki says he can have it up and running this time tomorrow, Cap’n.” “Sir.” It was Lieutenant Michelson, the engineering officer. “This is all my fault, I should have –“ The lieutenant was waiting for the sky to fall. “The lesson from this, Mr. Michelson, is that you can’t even trust the manual. Have you learned that lesson, Mister?” “Yes, sir!” “Fair enough. Obrecki, you’re a seaman-first, right?” “Yes, sir.” “Wrong. You’re a machinist-mate third.” “Sir, I have to pass a written exam…” “You think Obrecki’s passed that exam, Mr. Michelson?” “You bet, sir.” “Well done, people. This time tomorrow I want to do twenty-three knots.” And it had all been downhill from there. The engines are the mechanical heart of any ship, and there is no seaman in the world who prefers a slow ship to a fast one. When Panache had made twenty-five knots and held that speed for three hours, the painters painted better, the cooks took a little more time with the meals, and the technicians tightened their bolts just a little more. Their ship was no longer a cripple, and pride broke out in the crew like a rainbow after a summer shower – all the more so because one of their own had figured it out. One day early, Panache came into the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard with a bone in her teeth. Wegner had the conn and pushed his own skill to the limit to make a fast “one-bell” approach to the dock. “The Old Man,” one line handler noted on the fo’c’sle, “really knows how to drive this fuckin’ boat!” The next day a poster appeared on the ship’s bulletin board” PANACHE: DASHING ELEGANCE OF MANNER OR STYLE. Seven weeks later, the cutter was brought into commission and she sailed south to Mobile, Alabama, to go to work. Already she had a reputation that exactly matched her name.