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Author Articles

by Capt. Bill Pike

PMY Senior Editor:
Bill’s career incorporates a wide range of experience in both journalism and boating. He began his writing career in 1972 as a general-assignment reporter and columnist for the Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, New York. Later he went on to work as a feature writer and reporter for the St. Petersburg Times. Read more here...

The Not-So Great Loop

By Paul BrouCapt. Bill Pike | Posted June 2009 | Add a Comment

The author (in the green shirt) and his brother Mike. “Seasick?” I asked in a tone that mixed sympathy with infernal edginess. My brother Mike looked straight back at me and, as if the possibility of growing queasy under the circumstances was preposterous, replied, “Nope, doin’ fine, Billy.” A rainbow of spray came forth from

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Marlow 70E

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted June 2009 | Add a Comment

A passagemaker that's efficient and environmentally conscious.The first time I went aboard the Marlow Explorer 70E Mark II, she was tied up next to the Rod and Reel Club on Miami’s posh Hibiscus Island. It was late, with a boat-show party going on, and the feeling under the live oaks was pure nautical romance. Lanterns on the

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Ahoy: Dr. Freud

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted May 2009 | Add a Comment

If you’re a careful reader of PMY (and I’m sure you are), then you’ve probably perused a recent boat test of mine (“Cost Effective,” May 2009) that dwelled in part upon the difficulties I had returning a 50-footer to her slip after a sea trial during the Miami International Boat Show. The episode did not constitute a true horror show by any means, but the events were embarrassing enough. Sure, my

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Wax On, Wax Off

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted May 2009 | Add a Comment

Remember “Wax on, wax off?” It was Mr. Miyagi’s discipline-building anthem in Karate Kid. For years, I figured it was merely a figment of some movie maker’s imagination—it couldn’t be applicable to boat detailing, right? Wrong! As part of my campaign to do my maintenance chores myself, I recently detailed my trawler Betty Jane and made her literally sparkle. But I had to cheat.

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Automatic Autopilot

By Capt. Bill PikePaul Brou | Posted May 2009 | Add a Comment

John Redmond of Redmond Marine Electronics in Destin, Florida, does some pre-assembly in Betty Jane’s saloon.Hand-steering my 1988 Grand Banks 32 Betty Jane for hundreds of miles down the eastern seaboard some years back qualifies me for a profound appreciation of autopilots. Certainly, the trip was physically onerous,

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The Bottom Line

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted April 2009 | Add a Comment

Although I’m loathe to acknowledge my naivet concerning such matters (especially since I’m 61 years old and have owned boats all my life), my approach to in-water bottom cleaning was plain as dirt—if not downright cavalier—until recently. It went something like this: When growth on chines and running surfaces slipped past the faint-slime stage, I’d simply dial up a marina-recommended dive

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Spirit, Love, Truth

By Capt. Bill PikePhotos by Jeffe... | Posted February 2009 | Add a Comment

The store in the shopping center in West Palm Beach, Florida was exactly like Capt. Bart Miller had described it on the phone. A big black-and-gold sign over the door proclaimed: Black Bart Big Game Fishing. The floor inside was paved with scuffed, ambience-inducing dock planks. The walls were hung with

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The Way Forward: Steyr Motors

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Photos courtesy of Capt. Bill PikeA Steyr Motors Hybrid—its footprint is only 3.53" longer than a conventional engine's.The idea behind the Steyr Motors Hybrid is as elegant as it is simple: tap a diesel's rotational energy by splicing a10-hp/5-kW electric motor/generator between the crankshaft

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Riders on the Storm

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Okay. Hurricanes are awful. They're unpredictable, terrifying, and often result in incredible suffering. I should know. I was dispatched once to an offshore oil rig in a 110-foot utility boat to rescue 30 guys in the midst of a hurricane—a knee-knocking extravaganza if ever there was one. Then a few years later I was constrained to enter Cameron, Louisiana, one

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The Green Scene

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Sparkman & Stephens' Bruce Johnson tells an illustrative story. Recently, a prospective customer stopped by to chat about building a new boat. According to Johnson, the guy wasn't in the least dissatisfied with the relatively new megayacht he currently owns—he loves her and uses her a lot. And he wasn't looking to downsize to a smaller, less-expensive vessel either—the guy's one of the honchos of

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