Capt. Bill Pike's blog
The Curve of Time
Recently, for a couple of reasons, M. Wylie Blanchet’s The Curve of Time has taken top spot on my nautical bookshelf. I identified with the widow Blanchet’s descriptions of the joys and vicissitudes of packing up five children and cruising a 25-foot, single-engine powerboat through remote coastal territory during the early 20th Century.
During a recent whirlwind trip to the Midwest, Senior Editor Kevin Koenig and I visited a whole bunch of marine manufacturers located in an assortment of heartland states including Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Of course, we had a few adventures and we learned a few things.
Okay. So we don’t spend much time in the office. In fact, we spend a lot of time on the trail. This week we’re visiting the heart of the heart of the country, meaning Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and checking on a bunch of manufacturers, including Charles Industries (Casey, Illinois), Tiara Yachts (Holland, Michigan), Carver Yachts (Pulaski, Wisconsin), Marquis Yachts (Pulaski, Wisconsin). Cruisers Yachts (Oconto, Wisconsin), and the folks at Kohler (hmmmm, not too far from Sheboygan, Wisconsin) you know, the genset folks.
“While installing new primary fuel filters on the ol’ Lehman recently, I realized I spend more time doing maintenance onboard the Betty Jane than I do actually cruising. But hey, we’re talking an old boat.
For quite some time now (I figure about three years…not bad for a guy who’s painstakingly punctual about procrastination), I’ve wanted to either refurbish or replace the Fiamm air horn on the Betty Jane. While the old girl’s brightwork usually looks pretty good and folks occasionally say her gelcoat resembles a patina of Awlgrip, that ancient horn up there on the flying-bridge cowling looks like the Wreck of the Hesperus, comparatively speaking. So here’s the deal—I have finally decided to take the bull by the horns or, rather horn, and put one of the following two options into play:
You see lots of Racor FG500 fuel-water separators kicking around the waterfront, both on new boats (mostly protecting gensets) and on older ones like my Betty Jane, where the trusty little device helps stop water and other contaminants from getting into the main engine.
We have winter down here in North Florida. And occasionally, like denizens of the snowy latitudes, we yearn for summers past—you know, when it’s warm enough to virtually live in one of the most comfortable, practical, and fashionable ensembles ever invented for subtropical temperatures: flip-flops, a t-shirt, and a bathing suit.
When I was about the age of this little girl (her name’s Reagan and sometimes she calls me “Uncle Bill” and sometimes she calls me “Captain Bill”), a great thing happened.