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Cruising Conversations Episode 1 – Mike Pizl – Diesel Duck 462 Lucky Duck


Jeff traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii to film our first #CruisingConversations episode aboard Lucky Duck, the first Diesel Duck 462, built in 2005.

This is a new series of JMYS videos that welcomes our viewing audience to meet many of the “characters” we connect with in the trawler world. It is our hope to record interesting interviews that will provide helpful and amusing insights. We want to help spread the word about what trawlers are, where they can go and, more importantly, introduce you to many of the people who own and operate them.

Mike Pizl purchased the Diesel Duck 462, Lucky Duck, in the summer of 2018 with Jeff as his broker. Mike is a gifted mechanic, seasoned navigator and experienced aviator. He bought this steel trawler to sail home to Hawaii. As you will see in the video, Lucky Duck lived up to her name. It was a long crossing and as we started talking about this adventure, the “story” became how Mike was successful in diagnosing and making repairs out at sea.

As you will see, there were many “exciting moments” during the trip. The title is not just “catchy”, it is true, Lucky Duck was at times a sitting duck and literally, Dead-In-The-Water. The engine shut down more than once (primarily to bleed the fuel lines).

The completed video does end up feeling like a highlight reel of things breaking and being fixed… This in no way is meant to be a slight on Mike or the Diesel Duck brand. Things happen out at sea and you do your best to prepare before you leave, but that doesn’t mean that it will always be a carefree, uneventful trip. We don’t want to spoil the show by telling you everything that happened, please sit back and listen to Mike talking us through some of his experiences.

Mike is the first to admit that he departed without the necessary spare parts he should have had. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. Being a veteran sailor and aviator is a strong background, but each trawler is unique and what happened on Lucky Duck would have been difficult to anticipate. Remember, Lucky Duck was still a relatively new boat for Mike and even though he spent some time in local northwest waters shaking her down before the passage, he may have benefited by waiting a bit longer; but everything seemed fine and the beginning of the trip was smooth sailing.

Mike departed as planned, taking advantage of a positive weather window; with the boat full of fuel, provisioned and ready to sail west. Mike was ready, the boat was ready and during the trip they became even better acquainted as this journey of over two thousand miles nonstop put a strain on much of gear and systems. Of course, it would have been a boring interview if all Mike could talk about was beautiful sunrises, golden sunsets and calm seas.

The good news is this trip had a happy ending and proved the boat and the owner were both capable and up to the task. Sure, there were some mishaps. Could they have been prevented or avoided? Hard to say, there are no guarantees when you aim at the horizon. Crossing an ocean is a big deal. You don’t just do it without careful planning and preparation.

Lucky Duck has a sail plan for back up propulsion, but Jeff neglected to ask about it during the interview. Once you depart you need to stay on your toes and keep your eyes wide open. This particular trip summary is a good reminder for all of us that you have to be vigilant and address concerns at the earliest opportunity – problems can escalate if they are left to develop on their own.

Hearing about challenging incidents and learning about work-arounds and solutions is important background for anyone else contemplating similar long distance trips. There’s always something new to learn on a boat at sea.

A big THANK YOU to Mike Pizl for his time and for sharing what he learned. We look forward to hearing more about his cruising in the Hawaiian Islands.

We’d also like to congratulate Bill Kimley and the team at Seahorse Marine for building such a fantastic trawler yacht.

Finally, we’d like to dedicate this first episode as a tribute to a departed friend, George Buehler, who conceived this incredible “sail assisted trawler/troller” concept (and even came up with an apt, but goofy name, “Diesel Duck”). George, you were an amazing man, we miss you and fondly acknowledge your designs have inspired many to take off for distant shores.

Thanks for watching Episode 1. We welcome your comments and hope you will come back and stay tuned as we have more #CruisingConversations in the works.

For more information please visit:

Jeff Merrill Yacht Sales, Inc.