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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...

Smart Phone Apps for Your Boat

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted June 2011 | Add a Comment

Nav Tricks for the iPhoneTaking the boat out this weekend? Bring along the smartest of smartphones!I wasn’t a giant fan of the iPhone at first. The gizmo seemed cumbersome in comparison with the Blackberry I’d carried around for years. Its keyboard was slow, and its phone-related capabilitieswell, let’s just say the little multitasker seemed to

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The Reason for Different GPS Positiions for the Same Location

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted June 2011 | Add a Comment

You Gotta Be Kiddin’Can your chart (or Google Earth) give you one position and your GPS another?Some while ago I received a letter from William P. Carter, an observant Virginian with a serious interest in all things nautical. He had a question that conveniently points out a foible of modern, GPS-reliant navigation, one that seems just a tad ridiculous, at

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How-to keep your bilge odor-free

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted June 2011 | Add a Comment

  Let's investigate a seldom-explored phenomenon that most likely arises from things unseen or at least unobserved. The Frenchies call it une odeur de vieux bateau (which translates as the

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2011 Engines Review - Twin Disc

By Capt. Bill PikePhotos by Jeffe... | Posted June 2011 | Add a Comment

Master of ManeuverabilityTwin Disc’s new joystick-control system may give those pod drives a run for their money.Let’s begin this treatise on maneuverability on a historical note—or rather two of them. The first dates back to an enjoyable dinner I had with Bill Barry-Cotter in Australia several years ago. Barry-Cotter, of course, is

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Lobsterboat Races of the Maine Coast

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted May 2011 | Add a Comment

At first Travis Otis, a rough-and-ready lobsterman and boatbuilder from Searsport, Maine, seems like a reasonable sort of guy. Engage him in a stint of friendly conversation, and he’ll quickly convince you that he enjoys a wholly conventional lifestyle, complete with a flourishing family business and a 36-foot Northern Bay lobsterboat that pulls enough traps during the season to guarantee him a comfortable living.

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Hands-On Test Of Totally-Green Teak Deck Sealers

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted May 2011 | Add a Comment

Over the years, I’ve squirted, rubbed, mopped, and sprayed my fair share of potions, pastes, and potations onto fiberglass and other boaty surfaces. And, given the amount of time, money, and effort I’ve lavished upon this strange enterprise, you’d think I’d

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Otter Box iPhone 4 Case

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted April 2011 | Add a Comment

Otter Box iPhone 4 CaseThe best protection for a boater’s iPhone?Word arrived by e-mail—everybody at PMY was getting a new iPhone 4, the latest smartphone from Apple. Because I’m into protecting and preserving my tools, my immediate reaction was, “I gotta find the best, most boat-friendly protective case available for my phone, use

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How to create a well-stocked cruise kit for your boat

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted April 2011 | Add a Comment

Planning a cruise this summer to someplace far, far away? Take along an old-fashioned (or new-fashioned) cruise kit. The odds and sods in my Lehman Coastal Cruise Kit are gratifyingly varied, individually wrapped in plastic, clearly labeled, and stowed in a compact, easy-to-access plywood

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Tested: Pulse Tech's desulfator

By Capt. Bill PikePhotos by Cy Cyr | Posted April 2011 | Add a Comment

Rejuvenation SensationDoes Pulse Tech's desulfator work?We test it on an aging battery to find out.These close-ups of lead-acid battery plates were supplied by Pulse Tech. In image A sulfation buildup appears as yellowish dots. Image B shows a cleaner battery plate after Pulse Tech treatment.Last

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Bilge Pump Early-Warning System

By Capt. Bill Pike | Posted March 2011 | Add a Comment

Just the other day, I received in the mail a device called a BW8 Bilge Pump Activity Monitor from British manufacturer Celectron. Manufacturers occasionally send me products in hopes I’ll feature them in this column and, after looking the little unit over (and reading the

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