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Cathlamet breakdown first in four years

"For four years, the ferry Cathlamet did not miss a single scheduled run.That streak ended Tuesday, when one of the boat's automatic controls went out, causing the ferry to pull away from the dock on its own. According to Fran Mulcahy, the ferry's chief engineer, the Cathlamet's pitch control, an automatic process necessary for docking, failed Tuesday morning, causing the ferry to miss runs between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.Mulcahy worked on the device though the afternoon, then gave the OK for the Cathlamet to go back into service on manual control. He replaced several components of the pitch control, allowing the Cathlamet to go back to automatic control Wednesday morning.Mulcahy said he does not know if the Cathlamet's failure-free streak is any kind of record, because Washington State Ferries have only kept those sorts of statistics for about four years. But he received widespread recognition for the accomplishment, particularly because it came on the short, busy Mukilteo-Clinton route."

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