I have a haddock!

I. Our Last Event – 

Last weekend’s Hinckley Experience Event in Westchester was much fun, as these pix will attest. What is it about fine yachts that they bring out the nicest people?

Photo Jul 21, 5 52 56 PM

Photo Jul 21, 6 26 15 PM

Photo Jul 21, 6 21 36 PM


Photo Jul 21, 2 33 01 PM

The fine little yacht at the dock in Rye is the Hinckley Talaria 29R, and this was my first opportunity to see one up close and personal. The “R” in 29R stands for Runabout, and as this wonderful aerial footage shows, that’s exactly what she does:

Worry not – I’ll have more to say about exactly where and when you can see this rocket later in this report.

II. Singlehanding
The next morning I ran the Talaria 34 Pilothouse from Rye to Hampton Bays. That’s about a 75 mile run, and at 30 knots the T34 made short and easy work of it, burning just 18 gallons per hour, combined.

I did it alone (well, in truth I had Angelique Kidjo with me to provide the soundtrack) and sitting in my “easy chair” helm for a couple of hours  I gave some thought to my singlehanded routines at sea. Curious? I’ll put on my “Safety Dave” hat for you…

When I first started in this biz, a little over fifteen years ago, (strange as it may sound, I use to be a social worker) I had a memorable “man overboard” conversation with a colleague. He was a much more experienced offshore sailor than I, and was rather gloomy about the prospects of a successful at-sea recovery from a sailboat. He shot down every strategy that I knew as unworkable in the real world. Finally I asked him what the best solution was. I still think about his answer every time I’m on a boat:

Just stay on the freaking boat!

He was right. So my approach whenever I’m underway, and most especially when I’m alone, is to never leave the cockpit if I don’t have to. What impressed me in my delivery this week was the discovery that Hinckley makes this easy in at least three ways:

First, with the jets tied into the jetstick’s computer control, in Hover-Lock mode the boat sits at virtual anchor, no matter what the wind and tide do. Whether waiting for a bridge to open or a fuel dock to get free, this  allows you to calmly prepare for your next steps without undue pressure or worries. It’s become my favorite toy.

Secondly, Hinckley’s fenders come with precisely measured whips and pre-set location points. I could snap these fenders to their respective D-rings either directly from the cockpit or right through the helm window. I’ve been on no other boat where this is possible.  No more unnecessary climbing on deck!Photo Jul 22, 12 45 36 PM

Third, before I even left the dock I ran the attached dock lines back through the helm window, rather than removing them or leaving them coiled on deck (making sure they wouldn’t wrap around either the throttles or the jetstick):

Photo Jul 22, 12 45 31 PM

With jetstick control, its so easy to smoothly drift the boat sideways towards the dockhand, and simply reach out the window and hand him or her your lines. No fuss, no muss, no cursing. And, without having to worry about spinning props,  misthrown or dropped lines won’t wrap themselves around your drive system at the worst possible moment.  Why this only happens when there is a crowd of spectators on the docks is beyond me.  Enough said about that…

So here’s me, “staying on the freaking boat”, at 30 knots:

Captain Kirk-ing it!

Note that I’m not using the wheel. And no, I wasn’t running on autopilot. Rather, I had the system set to Power Steer mode. Just point ahead, and turn the switch one click to the right, and correct by jetstick as required. I barely had to touch it – perhaps a degree or two of adjustment every ten minutes or so. Way cool, way comfortable, way Captain Kirk!

Photo Jul 22, 12 45 18 PM
So, delivery done, our Talaria 34 Pilothouse is now in Hampton Bays, available for you to see at any time. If you’d like to see her, just launch a flare:

III. Montauk

Earlier in this post I mentioned you could see our 29R. I’m working hard on getting one to Montauk for our next event at the Montauk Lake Club, August 26th through the 29th. My next post will have the details and a reservation form to guarantee you a look. I’m really excited about this event, so please stand by.

Montauk Lake Club - Montauk's Original Estate

Montauk Lake Club – Montauk’s Original Estate

IV. And now for something completely different:

This is just a teaser. I’ll tie it all together for you in the next posting, after I finish some interviews with the folks up in Maine. But for the moment, just say Swordfish. Or, headache. As in, I got a haddock too!

Ciao for now, buds. And call about any little thing.


Hartman Yachts Livingston 34

You know how to whistle, don’t you?

I. Brains and Beauty –

Flipping through the channels the other night, this scene stopped me as just as firmly in my tracks as the very first time I saw it:

Lauren Bacall was nineteen years old here, in her first movie. Her brains and beauty knocked Bogart for a complete loop, both in the movie and in his life. You can see why.

Brains and beauty is the theme here today, loyal readers. Some of my earlier posts have been focused on the Hinckley aesthetic. It’s fun and easy to get lost in that. But in my time aboard these boats and at the factory I’ve become equally impressed by what I’m finding under the hood. In a word, technology!

Tech seems deeply intertwined into Hinckley’s DNA. I date it from their jetstick innovation (starting with the first Picnic Boat in 1994, and running right through this month’s splash of their 1,000th jet boat). And it goes on through the use of their proprietary infused carbon fiber/E-glass construction process that still hasn’t been beat in the industry. My friend Phil Bennet, Hinckley’s Sales Director up in Maine, tells me he actually tested this hull construction by firing a .357 magnum bullet into it. Unsuccessfully, I might add…

I wanted to learn more about this brains and beauty thing going on at Hinckley. So I spent some quality time this week with a key player there, a great guy named Scott Bryant. His title is “Director of New Product Development.” I asked him what that actually meant:

We’re the guys who engineer the value into the boats.

I love that concept, so I thought I’d share with you a bit about Scott’s day-to-day work life. Let’s start with an example of his end-product. This is the electric retractable awning for one of our best selling models over the last ten years – the Talaria 38R (there are five of these just in my home port of Sag Harbor!):


The development team at Hinckley managed this project as a classic engineering problem (think Boeing). For my fellow geeks out there (and for those that would rather just roll their eyes) those steps seem to me like something Tesla or Apple would engage in, and include:

  • Opportunity Analysis:
  • Concept Development (ever-cognizant of new developments in the aerospace, home automation and automotive industries):
  • Initial Drawings;
  • Specification Development;
  • Target Price Analysis;
  • Preliminary design;
  • Committee review (with direct input from Sales and Marketing):
  • Focus Group Management (groups include both current and prospective owners);
  • Board of Director review; and, finally (whew)
  • Tooling, construction and installation.

Wait, not finally! Finally ain’t until owner/user feedback comes in after delivery and use, with review of warranty and service reports over the life of the product.

I am amazed at this scope of work, and how much pure process it takes. Trust me, in manufacturing, process is expensive. It’s great that Hinckley has the resources and dedication to make this kind of investment. Way too many shoot-from-the-hip manufacturers don’t, or can’t. To them I say –


(Bonus points to whomever can identity the meaning and source of this expression, sans Google!)

And what did it take to design the 38R’s awning?

Eighteen months and a solid six figures!

And what’s more:

The components and installation in every 38R awning are another six figures.

Think about it – a Bentley’s convertible top is perhaps five feet long. And it spends most of its time in a garage. The 38R’s is eleven feet long and must thrive in a salt-water environment. What I see is that the Hinckley team made its technology beautiful and its operation seamless. That sort of value-adding result doesn’t happen by chance.

I displayed the brand new 34R (the 38R’s smaller sibling) at our Sag Harbor event a few weeks ago:

Talaria 34R in Sag Harbor

The sun was scorching hot, and people gathered when I put the top up for the first time. I’m no fool, so I spent the next few days punching that button every twenty minutes. The docks loved it!

Scott closed our talk this way, laying it all out, so to speak, on his drafting table:

You asked what my job was? Well, doing tech just for the sake of tech is pointless. The whole point of tech is to provide a better, higher-value experience for the owner. That’s my job.

 You know how to whistle, don’t you?

If you want to meet Scott, here he is, speaking about the development of “his” 34R:

And if you would like an opportunity to run this amazing vessel for yourself, howzabout this?

II. Hinckley Talaria 34R comes to Montauk!

From Friday, August 26th through Monday the 29th I will have a Talaria 34R for your use at the storied Montauk Lake Club:

Montauk Lake Club - Montauk's Original Estate

Montauk Lake Club – Montauk’s Original Estate


It is a thoroughly stunning location, and I have reserved three transient slips (up to 110 feet) if you’d like to stay for the weekend. Montauk will be blitzed that weekend, so I recommend you make your sea trial reservation now.

II. But What About Next Week?

Wanna see some Hinckley’s next week?

 This Thursday, July 21st, from 4pm till 8pm, I’ll have two Hinckley’s for your enjoyment: A Talaria 29R

Talaria 29R

Talaria 29R

and a Talaria 34 Pilot House –

Talaria 34 Pilot House
They’ll be at a cocktail hour showcase of an amazing waterfront estate, offered for sale by my friends at Houlihan Lawrence. They provided me with this this video, and you’ll note the owner’s Hinckley at his dock. Low tide in Rye gives him just over two feet of water – ample draft for his fine little yacht:


I would thoroughly enjoy seeing you there. You can register quickly and easily here:


Ciao for now, loyal readers. But as always, if you have questions, answers or good jokes, just launch a flare.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Big Wave Dave



From Yacht to Ship

I. Running the Race – 

Our Hinckley Experience event in Sag Harbor last weekend was much fun, but I will admit I worked my ass off!  When it was over I was pleased to have time to play – by taking our Talaria 34R from Sag Harbor to Hinckley’s yard in Portsmouth, RI. That’s 56 nautical miles, and it was a blast.

You can click on this twelve second selfie video (called G Major, for reasons that will be made clear in a minute), made as I jetted through The Race at 30 knots. We’ve all seen The Race in much tougher conditions, but I think the universe decided to grant me an easy trip. Thirty comfortable knots was a real treat!

G Major

A couple of points: My daughter’s boating friends call me Safety Dave. It’s a bit of an obsession for me, and it colors all of my boating values. Case in point, you’ll note in the video that I’m wearing an offshore-level inflatable PFD. Day or night, if I’m running boats alone, it’s on. Tucked into its’ folds are a mini-epirb locator and a really good knife. If I could find a small enough waterproof VHF with decent battery life, I’d hide that in there too.

Secondly, if you are wondering what was playing through those headphones, it’s the recording that Steve Jobs said almost caused him to abandon his life-long atheism. For me, all I’ll say is that for that great day on the water my personal soundtrack was …. transporting.


II. And then…

I pulled into the Hinckley/Hunt docks in RI, and this enormous destroyer-like bow loomed over me:


Just Splashed Hunt 72

She’s the latest splash of Hunt Yachts’ Ocean Series – the 72, just a few short weeks from her turnover to her experienced owner. Walking under her prow I had two nautical epiphanies. The first was:

So this is where a vessel crosses the line from yacht to ship!

Crossing that line ain’t just about size. We’ve all been aboard big boats that we wouldn’t take across the Gulf of Maine in heavy fog. Or across the wind-against-Gulf Stream to Bimini. Maybe the simplest way to define that line is where design and implementation come together to deliver safety and comfort in big waters.

My second epiphany? Walking up and down her dock, looking at her from every angle, I couldn’t get past this feeling:

This is an American ship!

She may have been built in Asia, but to my eye, C. Raymond Hunt Associates designed a ship that has a fundamentally American look. No one would mistake it for a European design, or Asian, or even a Canadian design. It is 100% American in look and feel. I don’t see enough of that anymore with big boats, and I was glad to experience that welcome feeing again.

I’ve been doing offshore Design/Build’s for most of my career. They can be tricky. But I could tell in just a couple of hours that Hunt Yachts’ succeeded with their Ocean Series

(IMPORTANT CAVEAT: I haven’t run her yet. But after talking to the delivery team, I’d be surprised to be surprised).

How does a creation like this come to pass? In my experience it’s when:

  • There is a clear and unambiguous merger of the  the owner’s vision with that of the design team,
  • fluently translated by an American company for a skilled foreign yard,
  • and supported by a two-continent management structure that preserves quality, maintains costs, and sticks to its planned schedule.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

They don’t.

It’s crystal clear to me (reserving final judgement till I run her) that Hunt does.

And, most strikingly,  Hunt Yachts has the people, practices, and management to deliver you a yacht exactly like this one in twelve months, for seven figures less than you might expect.

I’d like to repeat that, because ….. it bears repeating? Hunt Yachts has the people, practices, and management to deliver you a yacht exactly like this one in twelve months, for seven figures less than you might expect.

It just quickens my pulse.  Perhaps yours as well. If you would like in-depth, substantive information  about the why, the what and the how much, well then I’ll just quote James Taylor here:

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all you gotta do is call….

So now let’s look at this ship, circling around my pet themes of  safety and comfort.

I got a substantive tour from my friend Peter Van Lancker, President of Hunt Yachts:

Life boat material

While Peter and I have swum in the same seas for over 20 years, we only really got to know each other this year. It feels longer, perhaps because so many people I trust in the marine biz trust him. He reminds me of a line from my novel (which I really hope to finish this year):

There are only two kinds of people in this world – Those you want in your liferaft, and those you don’t.

You want Peter in your life raft.  I’m assuming his survival skills are high. But mostly I’d want him around for his attitude and temperament. Go up to RI and meet Peter, have him walk you through this latest delivery. Trust me, you will enjoy him, and her.

Anyway, the sexy photos first, and then I’ll bore you with my technical comments. Here is a panoramic walk thru of the living areas:


And here is the simply stunning flybridge:


See why I call her a ship? For me she is a get-there-and-back vessel. Everything I could find was over-built to do exactly that. Some examples:

Massive Cleats

All deck hardware is oversized. That isn’t as unusual as it used to be, fortunately. But when the winds are howling, it ain’t so much the cleats as what backs them. On the Hunt 72 I saw that all are over-backed and over-bedded. For anyone who doubts that cleats can pull out, I urge you to walk any New England coast after a nor’easter. You’ll find lots of this:



Hinckley, by the way, does a spectacular job of backing-and-bedding with their jet boats as well. In a future post I’ll comment upon their high-tech backing plates. Very, very impressive. I’m doing a windlass upgrade on my trawler at the end of this season, and I’m going to do my best to do it in the Hinckley way.

Anyway, howzabout this viewing port, which I found under the master bunk?


My first comment was what the hell? A bulletproof inspection port, looking at …. nothing?  I looked down through it, and saw only the bottom of the boat.   Peter explained:

“Dave, everyone runs aground. It’s just a matter of when. If you hit a reef on our boat, the probable impact point is visible through this port. You can quickly get a handle on how badly you’ve grounded. And if it’s advisable to back her off yourself or call for help.”


Speaking of brilliant, whenever I’m at a boat show, exploring down below on multi-deck boats, this thought drives me nuts:

Why would anyone get into something they can’t get out of?

So here are the opening ports in the 72’s master cabin:


They are large enough that in an emergency (or, as has happened twice in my boating life, you sheepishly get locked down below) you can safely exit. I leave it to your imagination, but this is not a little thing.

Parenthetically, I had a particular fondness for this space in the engine room. I believe that every ship should have a dedicated tool bench, with a beefy vice. Someone once defined cruising as sailing from port to port, rebuilding your pumps. Hey, lets face it – stuff breaks offshore. Pardon the less-than-artful repetition here, but when you need to get home in serious conditions, serious boats need a serous place to fix stuff:


I’ll have a lot more to say in future posts about Hunt’s Ocean series, the advantages and mechanics of their design/build process, and exactly what the skilled design team at C. Raymond Hunt bring to the table. But as I think you can tell, I truly, madly fell in love with this American ship!

And those 30 knots I did through The Race on the Talaria 34R? This one does that with ease, through conditions much tougher than what I saw last week.




III. Our Next Hinckley Event

As I said above, last week’s Experience Hinckley event in Sag Harbor was a blast. I am following it up with an event in Rye, for all my NYC and Westchester clients. It will be a wonderful  cocktail party brought to you by Hinckley Yachts and the luxury realtors at Houlihan Lawrence.

On Thursday, July 21st, from 4 till 8pm we will be displaying a Hinckley Talaria 29R:

Photo Courtesy of Hinckley Yachts

Photo Courtesy of Hinckley Yachts

and a Talaria 34 Pilothouse:



The venue for this wonderful event will be this spectacular waterfront estate in Rye (note the owner’s 29R at his dock):


I’m excited about this, and you can be too! Your invitation can be found at:


I do look forward to seeing you there (but stand by for details on something I’m planning for August in Montauk).

So, ciao for now. As always, if you have any questions, comments or idle chatter, just launch a flare!

-Safety Dave (In my inflatable airbag, taking my bike to work on the 4th.  I never leave home without it!)

bike vest

Photo courtesy of Helen Kim

bike vest