My wife, Terrie, and I laid up our Malo 47, Nada, ashore in Spain this past August and came home to take care of other business. We will be returning to Nada toward the end of this month. All systems were working fine when we left, but it cannot be presumed this will be the case when we go back. Mechanical things need regular use and tend to seize up without it. Mechanical and electrical equipment also both suffer from the salt atmosphere invariably present along any coast.

There is always an element of trepidation when I step on board the boat after a long layup and turn on the main battery switch. Will the panel come alive, or are the batteries dead? After that, assuming the electrical system boots up as it should (and following a moment of blissful relief!) there are also a number of tests I run both before and after I’ve fired up the engine to help ensure things go well in the months to come.


The Holy Trinity for diesel engines is clean fuel, an unobstructed airflow through the engine and exhaust and compression levels that result in high enough air temperatures to ignite the injected diesel fuel. In what follows,

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