That sounds right for an old-style gate valve -- they look like an outdoor hose faucet handle, unlike the 90-degree-turning ballcock valves in the modern through-hulls.
Make sure it's open all the way (takes quite a few turns) and then start the engine. If you have to crank the engine for more than a few seconds to start it, keep the valve closed until the engine gets running, otherwise you can flood the engine with water. Please listen to what I am saying: if you do flood the cylinders (and it can happen within fifteen seconds of cranking) you will have to go through at least three oil changes to get the water-infused oil out of the system. And I mean three oil changes one right after another at one sitting.
If your engine is starting right up, then open the valve first. Otherwise, wait until it starts running, then open it as quickly as possible.
Your smoke probably is the excess Marvell burning off, but you'll know for sure once you get her running with the water flowing properly. Do be sure to check that the water is coming out of the exhaust once everything is running and open.
S/V Free Spirit
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