In 1928, Benjamin Hinckley bought Manset Boatyard in Southwest Harbor, Maine. His intention was to service the lobster boats of local fishers and the yachts of summer vacationers. Four years later, Henry (Hank) Hinckley took over operations from his dad; one year later, Hinckley Yachts launched its first boat –– a 36-foot fisherman. The classic shape and dramatic line of that first boat are still visible in today’s models and are part of what propelled Hinckley Yachts into the ranks of America’s premier yacht builders.
Today, the company operates seven service yards along the U.S. east coast. Its current line of yachts, all built to order, range in size from a 29-foot runabout to a 76-foot sailboat. Models include Picnic Boats: 34S, 37S, 40S; Sport Boats: 40C, 40X; Motor Yachts: Hinckley 35; Talaria 43, 48MKII, 55MKII; Runabouts: 29, Center Console: 29, 34, Dasher Electric; and Sailboats: Bermuda 50, Sou’wester 53 and Freesia 76.
The yacht builder isn’t short on bragging rights. Because of its easy handling and shoal draft, the Runabout 29 is the tender of choice aboard many mega-yachts. The Talaria 43 was the “cover girl” on Power and Motoryacht, and Yachting magazines in 2014. And in 2017, Hinckley Yachts launched the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht: Dasher 28. Dasher has a carbon-epoxy composite hull and carbon stringers and is the lightest Hinckley yacht built to date.
Innovation Was Key
At Hinckley Yachts, innovation was even more important than good looks. Building fishing boats and sloops rugged enough to survive the rocky Acadian coast and bobbing lobster pots required extra strong hulls. Henry and his son Bob began experimenting with a relatively new material in the late ‘50s – fiberglass. They saw it as a way to save weight while adding strength. They only used it on dinghies and other small boats until 1958 when they decided to go BIG and switch the Sou’wester 36 line from wood to fiberglass.
Other innovative technologies the yacht builder introduced include Dual Guard composite materials and JetStick, which is a joystick for jet propulsion that makes precision handling a breeze. Hinckley Yachts was one of the first to adopt SCRIMP (Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process), which produces almost zero VOC emissions. Plus, Hinckley Yachts is the only builder that still uses carbon and Kevlar composite, vacuum-infused with epoxy, the full length of their boats.
A Piece of History
When America entered World War II, Hinckley Yachts switched from building recreational boats to tugs and other small boats for the U.S. Army and Coast Guard. Almost half of the boats built in Maine during the war were for the military and came from the Hinckley Yachts boatyard.
Any sailors worth their salt recognize Hinckley yachts on sight. Their beautiful, functional designs, sweeping deck lines, shallow draft, and rugged construction, as well as the ease with which the captain maneuvers are just a few of the many reasons Hinckley yachts are still in demand after nearly a century.
Founder: Henry R. Hinckley
Yacht Type: Luxury sailboats and powerboats
Yacht Models: 16 models ranging from 29 to 76 feet
Present owner: Scout Partners LLC (2010)
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