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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...

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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The Yacht that Vanished

By Andy LavinCapt. Bill Pike | Posted November 2008 | Add a Comment

Years ago, while packing boat-test gear into a Pelican case on the Fort Lauderdale waterfront, I fell into conversation with a white-haired gent in a plaid shirt who’d spent much of his life delivering yachts internationally. A garrulous soul, he told me a rousing story about a 75-foot Burger motoryacht he swore he’d seen down in Colombia 20 years before. She’d

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Cleaner and Greener

By B.J. VickersCapt. Bill Pike | Posted November 2008 | Add a Comment

I consider myself an evolving environmentalist, although my wife has to occasionally remind me to recycle cardboard cereal boxes and defunct newspapers, and my nostalgia for old-fashioned boatyard fragrances like red-lead primer and tung-oil varnish continues unabated. While progress on the evolutionary has been slow though, it’s also been sure. For months now,

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Joy (Stick) Ride to Key West

By Capt. Bill PikePhotos by Jeffe... | Posted October 2008 | Add a Comment

The whole thing started with a simple, straightforward question. I was standing under a chandelier at a cocktail reception at the Atlanta Boat Show, with a glass of Perrier in one hand and a toothpick-skewered scallop in the other, when Tom Duncan, Sea Ray’s ad agency guy, eased alongside and asked, "So Bill, if you have room on one of the long boat trips you sometimes do for the magazine, could

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The Betty Jane and the Tin Mullet

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

One of my boating buddies made a remark the other day that had a strange but true ring to it. "Bill," he said, "it seems like there's some kind of theme runnin' through your life these days—you got a boat that's an awful lot like your car." We'd been riding around for much of the morning in my silver Toyota Prius, affectionately known as the Tin Mullet, and now we were riding around

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