Spent more time looking at the stubborn starboard Westerbeke engine today. While it was starting a bit better, it is still a long way from right. So I crawled back down into the engine room with my trusty flashlight, inspection mirror, paper towels, and a wrench.
I looked at all of the fuel system I could see and didn't find any leaks. I checked every fitting I could get a wrench on and they were all tight. I ran paper towels over the lines and found no leaks. Since the engine runs fine once it gets running, I've ruled out airflow (which I think would cause black smoke) and compression (since it does run fine once it is running) so that only leaves fuel issues. But I'm stumped.
Of course, during my inspection, I found that one of the coolant hoses was chafing on a couple of the engine bolts. So I did find something to fix. This hose is molded to fit the engine a specific way and appears to be installed correctly, so I don't know if this is just bad design or what. In any case, bolts rubbing through a coolant hose is bad, so I needed to do something about it.
I was able to get a piece of scrap reinforced hose and so I cut a couple patches to act as chafe protection for the hose. I used some high temp RTV to glue them onto the hose and temporarily secured them with zip ties to allow the RTV to set up. Please note, if you ever try this, you must remove the zip ties...I've seen them cut through metal aircraft engine mounts so I have no doubt that they would make quick work of a rubber hose if left in place. Hopefully the added reinforced rubber will give this hose some added lifetime.
So, still no joy on the engine starting issue, but at least I may have prevented, or at least significantly slowed down, another potential problem. One of these days I'll hopefully solve this little Wester-Beast problem.