Author Articles

Capt. Bill Pike

Executive 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. Between those two jobs, he was a ship’s officer, working as navigator and supervisor on everything from tugs to 1,000-footers in the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and the waters off South and Central America. He holds an unlimited tonnage, First Class Pilot’s License for the Great Lakes and a 1,600-ton Master’s License for all oceans.

Bill is on his second tour with Power & Motoryacht. He was an associate editor with PMY in the late ’80s but left to work as senior editor and technical editor at Boating. Bill returned to PMY in 1997. A recipient of numerous awards for his service in the army during the Vietnam War, Bill has also received a Boating Writers International first place award for feature writing and an NMMA Directors Award.

Ahoy: Dr. Freud

By | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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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Joy (Stick) Ride to Key West

By | 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 | 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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