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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...

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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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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