Eye’s the Bye

P.I.s Who Live Afloat…

The mean streets may get mean, but who cares, just as long as you can sail away? The most famous boatnik eye may be Travis McGee, but he’s not the only one… it seems to be a recurring male fantasy.

  • Oscar Sail by Lester Dent
    This pulp eye lived on a black, 45-foot long (34-foot at the waterline) Chesapeake Bay bugeye, anchored in Miami’s Biscayne Bay, that he humbly christened Sail.
  • Tony Rome by Anthony Rome
    Lived on The Straight Pass, docked in Miami, Florida, and actually predates Travis McGee!
  • Travis McGee by John D. MacDonald
    The most famous boatnik of them all lives on a 52-foot barge, The Busted Flush, docked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • John Caine by Charles Knief
    Lives on the 56-foot ketch-rigged sailboat, Duchess, in Oahu, Hawaii.
  • Baylor Rumble by George Snyder
    Lives on The Baye Rumb in Southern California
  • Stryker McBride by Charley Memminger
    Lives on a 50-foot Vagabond houseboat, The Travis McGee, in Oahu, Hawaii.
  • Michael Flynn by Lyal Brown
    Lives on The Blarney Boy, a weather-beaten sloop moored at the marina on Granville Island in Vancouver, B.C. No collusion.
  • B.L. Stryker by Christopher Crowe
    Lives on a beat-up houseboat, docked in Miami
  • Tommy Case by David Burton
    Lives on his sailboat The NOMORR, which stands for “No More Rat Race” in Newport Beach.
  • Hal Darlan by Ed Lacy
    The pipsqueak PI with the black belt has an office in downtown NYC, but lives on a 13-metre sloop he keeps moored in the Hudson River.
  • Jack Merchant by Bill Eidson
    Lives on The Lila, in Charlestown, Mass.
  • Max Castillo by L.H. Thomson
    This defrocked priest lives on La Casilda in Benidorm, Spain.
  • Jack Dixon by Daniel M. Ford
    This peace-loving eye lives on his houseboat, the Belle of Joppa, in Maryland.
  • Jack Starkey by William Wells
    An ex-cop Chicago cop retires to live on the Phoenix, a houseboat he docks in Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Boats What Don’t Float

  • The Answer from Harry O
    Harry Orwell lived in a ramshackle beach house in San Diego and liked to spend his time muttering and re-building his boat The Answer. When he moved from San Diego to Santa Monica about midway through the first season, he brought The Answer along, but in true Harry-as-eternal-seeker mode, never quite finished it.
  • Hole in the Water from Simon & Simon
    San Diego eye (and would-be Masrlboro man) Rick Simon is perfectly content to live his life on his boat, Hole in the Water, even if it’s parked… on a trailer in his brother A.J.’s yard.
Respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. Help me out here…

2 thoughts on “Eye’s the Bye

  1. Hi Kevin,
    Il I am happy to read that you stress the fact that Tony Rome from the great Marvin Albert predates Travis McGee, I would like to add that Ed Lacy (Len Zinberg) in Strip For Violence (Eton, 1954) shows Hal Darling living on a 12-meters little boat, even if he has a small office in town.


    Roger Martin (from France)

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