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The Electro-Diesel Mystery

On September 8, we needed to get from San Diego to Santa Barbara for the start of the Ta-Ta. As usual, we figured we’d do the old two-step: 80-some miles the first day to Two Harbors, and 80-some miles the next day to Santa Barbara. In order to conserve fuel and make the best time, we’d leave San Diego at 4 a.m. when it was calm, hoping to make it most of the way to Santa Barbara before the afternoon breeze and chop came up.

We dutifully arose at 4 a.m., ready to rumble. But as we turned the key to fire up the starboard engine, something funny happened. The light on the control panel came on for one second, then went off. This meant there was no juice getting to the panel, and therefore no juice getting to the starter motor.

Naturally we tried turning the battery and ignition switches on and off repeatedly. But there was still no juice getting to the starter to fire up the engine. So we went back to sleep and had dreams of tracing down circuits with our volt meter.

The next morning de Mallorca got up, tried to start the same engine 10 times, and each and every time it worked perfectly. What the . . .?

Anything like that ever happen to you on your boat? Any idea what might have been going on? For what it’s worth, it was very damp at 4 a.m. But we’ve fired up the engine many times before in very damp conditions without a problem. Send your thoughts to Richard.

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The inaugural SoCal Ta-Ta is a hit! latitude/Richard
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Seen here in her former glory, the Terra Nova carried Scott’s party on their ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic.