SD – SF Day 3 in Santa Barbara

Hi All –

we’re in Santa Barbara carefully examining the future weather in search of a window to scamper north and appear home in Alameda. Dan and I spent several hours inspecting weather prognosis this morning and it could be that getting out of here Sunday evening was a bit optimistic on our part (this morning Marina office said it was blowing 27 gusting 33 at Arguello, for example). However, the GRIBS and NOAA believe the weather is due to lay down Tuesday morning and continue to remain quiet for several days following. That’s our window – most awesome, dude!

As a result of the above discussion Dan determined that he was running out of time to be home for the Thanksgiving holiday, so he has departed on the Coast Starlight bound northwards to spend time with his family. It has been great to travel and sail with Dan, and if anybody is looking for a crewmate I highly recommend him. Fabulous person. This leaves Kristen and I on board, and between the two of us it should be straight forward (if somewhat tiring) to run Beetle north. I have sent some communications out inquiring as to whether or not folks would be interested in the north-bound trip, so far no takers – can’t blame them, they’re probably smarter than I am or haven’t checked their email yet.

Last night the three of us (Dan, Kristen, myself) had a super time in beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, mostly by having pizza at a mostly empty but otherwise quite nice bar/restaurant, and after the dinner the waitress gave each of us a card good for 1/2 hour of free pool at their bar tables in the back/lounge part of the place. So we went through the back door, past the bathrooms, and had a super time shooting pool – some sort of game involving sinking whichever object ball was nearest the pocket of interest. Lots of fun, good folk, a good time.

This morning we had boat chore: figure out why the diesel engine didn’t start instantly the most recent time the starter button was pushed. Turns out the solenoid is good, the wiring is fine (and extra clean, now), and the issue seems to be an 8″ bolt that is meant to secure the rear housing of the starter to the front housing of the starter – that bolt has broken off, leaving the threaded part in the forward housing. If the bolt is slightly ‘out’ of the housing, then the solenoid only clicks and nothing happens. IF the bolt is all the way in, the motor starts perfectly. This is somewhat disconcerting, to say the least.

As a result, I am now on a first name basis with the local diesel mechanics, am well known to the fellow at Coast to Coast Marine, and Greg at Channel Island Marine put me in touch with AGS (Alternator/Generator/Starter) here in town. So – having found the silly bolt problem, and establishing that bolt-pushed-in = motor starts, the plan is to: a) see if AGS can rebuild the existing starter to have it back on board Tuesday AM, b) see if Coast to Coast has a complete starter for the Mr. Perkins 4-108 in their shop. If a) occurs we’re in business, if b) occurs then we have a brand new starter Tuesday morning courtesy of FedEx. If both occur we got lots of possibilities, and neither occurs we’re still good to go as long the bolt stays in. Now that I know the bolt is problem a bit of duct tape will probably solve it too. Therefore I have relaxed following my morning chore, there’s essentially nothing to prevent us from taking advantage of the upcoming
weather window to get north!

Looking forward to this evening, Kristen and I are going to hit the town (as it were) in search of a good hamburger, preferably ones with avocado, bacon, cheese, and mushrooms. This is Santa Barbara, I bet they make one like that here somewhere.

May everbody have starter motors without bolts protruding, and may all sailboats have flat weather on Wednesday!

– rob/beetle

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