I hand cranked a Volvo MD2B
for more than 5 years. The Dynamotor fell off because of broken bolts in the block. Would've had to pull the engine
to get at the bolts which wasn't in the cards in the Marquesas
. Started hand cranking it and found it so easy, never bothered to fix the starter/dynamotor.
All I had to do was pop the compression
releases, push down the cold start button, set the throttle a little above idle, then crank the engine
up to as many rpm
as I could get. Once I had the engine was up to speed, drop the compression lever on one cylinder, and then the other after the first had caught on. Almost always started the first try. Hand started an MD3B
once. It was doable but took a lot more strength to get that third cylinder rotating. The secret, I'm sure, with the Volvo's was the very large flywheel. The engine had enough inertia that you didn't have to crank it while you dropped the compression release.
If I was going to do some serious cruising would try and find a SABB engine. They are dead simple to maintain, designed for hand starting and the variable pitch
prop allows a relatively low hp engine to push a farily large boat.