I. ‘TISTHESEASON: Long ago and far away I used to work a dozen or more boat shows a year, all around planet earth. That, plus monthly trips to Istanbul, left me in a near-constant state of jet lag. It all came back to me when, preparing for the coming boat show season, I rediscovered this great video – WeaponofChoice, by Fatboy Slim. That great hoofer Christopher Walken brought back to me the thrills and chills of a peripatetic life. You’re gonna wanna wait for the ethereal Botticelli-like sailboat scene at the end:
Now I’m just pleasantly working a couple of local shows each year. Two are coming up:
The Newport Boat Show from September 15th through the 18th
The Norwalk Boat Show from September 22nd through the 25th
In truth, I never got tired of the boat show circuit. I used to particularly love the Annapolis Show, in part because of the incredibly complicated logistics it takes to put it together (the show has to put in and remove their own docks each year).
One of the best times I know is to book a room at the Marriott overlooking the show, and stay one extra day to watch the epic closing party. Here’s the sailboat version:
The Newport Boat Show is no less difficult to set up. I give the show organizers great credit for shoe-horning in nine figures worth of boats, and making it look easy. As you’ll see on the bottom of this map, wewillhavethree, count ‘em, threejetboats next to the Black Pearl Restaurant (and our brand-spanking-new Hunt 72):
Our largest offering will be the Talaria43:
I’ve been watching this great video of a T43 underway. It draws me back to last week’s review in TheFogWarning of C. Raymond Hunt’s biography, AGeniusathisTrade. I’ve become quite conscious of Hunt’s unique ability to look at a static, two dimensional drawing but perfectly picture what marine architects call the “laminar flow” of water over a hull. This video highlights that flow. Keep your eye on the waterline, that spot where “the rubber hits the road,” so to speak. Note the almost complete lack of turbulence as she cuts through the water. This is what good naval architecture looks like, loyal readers:
If you want to see the T43 (and who wouldn’t?) she will only be at the Newport Show, not Norwalk. So, you snooze, you lose.
Our second offering will be our ever-so-popular PicnicBoatMKIII.
Take a moment and look back at my Newport dock diagram, above. Think about the scratch-potential of moving a fine yacht into one of those tight slips. But this clip of a MK III shows why it’s just not a big deal:
Pretty easy, huh? How about in a more challenging environment?
We’ve kept a Talaria 34 Pilothouse over in the Shinnecock Canal all summer. It’s a superb location, because to the south the Atlantic Ocean is just a few minutes away. Or head north, past Orient Point, to quickly enter Block Island Sound.
But the tidal difference between the Shinnecock and Peconic Bays is a couple of feet, so sometimes, depending upon the phase of moon, the current can really rip down the canal. It’s really more like a swift river at times, and docking a prop’ed boat (after all, it takes six hands to maneuver a double throttle/double gearshift/double bow thruster yacht!) takes skill plus luck. But to achieve the docking ease shown in the above video in a ripping canal all you have to do is increase your RPM by about 15% and use your jetstick normally. Trust me, she will obey!
Lastly, our new and much-buzzed-about Talaria34R.
We just sold one to a knowledgable Hinckley owner (his third!) and when you see her at the shows you’ll understand why.
I’ve posted this particular video before, and probably will again. I just can’t get enough of the soundtrack’s baritone saxophone!
So that’s our Newport Fleet. Come see us, and to quote Fatboy Slim and Christopher Walken, find your WeaponofChoice!
II. TheGorillaintheRoom (Redux)
Longtime readers will remember my earlier blog (found on the home page as “My Original Blog“). Over a span of four years that blog grew to have over 4,000 regular readers. I am really excited to report that TheFogWarning, in jut a few short months, is now closing in on 1,000 regular readers. Thank you, one an all, for your support. It means a lot to me.
I’ve been averaging about a dozen insightful comments from loyal readers each posting. But last week’s posting (The Gorilla in the Room, about the true costs of yacht ownership) brought in over 40 responses, from as far away as Argentina. My favorite comment, however cryptic, came in from a Silicon Valley quant guy I’ve known for quite a while:
“Hmmm. Reduce #1 expense of boat ownership by 50%. Like it.”
Oh, that I could write with such eloquent economy!
This is big – I now have a 2013 Talaria 48 for sale in my backyard, so to speak. Meet me in Westchester and I promise you an eye-opening walkthrough. The circumstances of her sale are unique. Call me quick, and I’ll fill you in.
Hurricane Hermine is making some noises today in Sag Harbor, where I keep my trawler. So I’m off to check her lines and to add some chafe protection. So ciao for now, peoples of the world. And remember, Newport Boat Show – Be there or be square!
PS: The descriptions of C. Raymond Hunt’s genius in picturing water flow over a hull form reminded me of something, and it took a couple of days for me to put it together. Which is quite strange, because it’s a scene from my own novel-in-progress! Here’s the quote:
Hardened sailors on the circuit could be tough to keep up with, party-wise. But there was talk all that summer of some young black girl tearing up the docks and clubs every night of Key West Race Week. And after just a few minutes racing with Dawn it was clear to Tommy that she sailed exactly as she lived – wild, raw, and undisciplined.
Of course there was more to racing than speed. His dad had taught him it took focus, discipline, and tactics. But he couldn’t deny that Dawn had a brilliant feel for the wind. For her a breeze had an almost physical mass, and he sensed that she saw wind over water the way Van Gogh saw it over open fields; as colorful waves of swirling, airborne streams.
She certainly had the intensity of an Olympic competitor. The story came up from Key West weeks before she arrived in Maine – trailing by twenty seconds around the final mark, she had slammed the wheel in frustration. Every crew within a quarter mile could hear her scream at the fitful wind: “Come on you motherfucker, give it to me!”
She broke two bones in her hand. And won the race by six seconds.
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Two wonderful book recommendations this week, loyal readers. Their common theme is … genius!
This first book jumped out at me from a glowing review in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year: The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Piers Bizony. This is a stunning coffee table book, ingeniously packaged in its own symbolic “monolith” box. While I didn’t splurge, a larger four-volume version (autographed by Mrs. Kubrick) is available in a limited edition run of 500 for $1,500. If you buy that one, lunch is on me.
Stanley Kubrick’s genius was that he came up with the visual style of the film long before he even had the the story. He commissioned a series of magnificent paintings (the heart of this book) before the script was even written:
Despite tremendous pressure to cut corners from the banks and studios that financed the film, he remained true to his vision right through to his final edit. It’s quite an inspiring story.
It’s also full of wonderful movie trivia, including this fact: In 1969 the Academy Awards did not nominate Space Odyssey for Best Costume Design, despite its riveting portrayals of early man, allegedly because they believed the “actors” were real apes.
And this, in my own whimsical and idiosyncratic way, brings me to the heart of the matter, to the gorilla in the room, to the concept so often left unexplored in our industry:
You won’t hear “the D-word” much at boat shows, for obvious reasons. And googling the concept won’t provide you with any accurate and authoritative data. For reasons that run from the obscure to the obvious, there is no reliable Kelly’s Blue Book of yacht values. Some surveyors and brokers offer their opinion on the matter, usually throwing out an anecdotal “10% a year for the first five years”. But they don’t tell you how they got there. So I took a crack at it.
Yachtworld has an industry-insider database called “SoldBoats.” A subscriber can, for example, see the sale prices of every brokerage Riva 33 sold in the USA for the last five years. If you can determine the original sale prices, you’re most of the way towards knowing the true cost of yacht ownership. No matter what builder (and continent) you choose, I urge you to ask your broker to take you through their version of this analysis. Be forewarned, sometimes this journey takes courage!
Looking at the usual suspects for the last few years (from Italian, Asian and American builders) I come up with an average annual depreciation rate of:
And the Hinckley experience, you may well ask?
Well, I was prompted to go down this path two weeks ago when I got the full report of the sale of a three-year old Hinckley Talaria 43.
Hinckley Talaria 43
Her total depreciation came to a shocking 7.14%. On an annual basis that’s just :
However compelling an anecdote that is, I didn’t want to hang my hat on a single data point. So I sit here today with a boatload (lol) of rock-hard data about every brokerage Picnic Boat Mark III sold since the spring of 2011.
Twenty-three of them found new owners, after having been owned for between 12 and 87 months. I was stunned by the median annual depreciation rate:
What is going on here?
My theory, as we have been discovering together for the last few months at The Fog Warning, is that there is an ever-reinforcing value proposition here at Hinckley. If you go back and read through my last five or six blog postings, the ingredients of a recipe are revealed:
Start with a classic and unwavering aesthetic discipline
Add to it substantial investments in design, engineering, and technology to produce the safest and most versatile use possible
Build it so well that you can confidently offer a lifetime hull and deck warranty
Offer stem-to-stern annual service packages to owners and buyers who have a unique and enduring appreciation for iconic yachts.
Stir well and serve immediately to get:
That qualitative and quantitative value bakes in the lowest depreciation rate, and the lowest cost-of-ownership plan I know. So put it this way, if you can buy a new yacht that retains 92.9% of its value three years later, I’ll ask you to do two things: first, call me to verify the numbers. Second, rush to contract.
OK, book #2:
I haven’t read many biographies that I would characterize as thrilling (although I’m reading one about spy novelist John Le Carre right now that comes close) but I think most boaters will find A Genius at his Trade a thrilling read.
I’m going to quote Joseph Gibbons here from his review in Maine Boats and Harbors magazine:
To call Ray Hunt an Archimedes doesn’t seem wide of the mark. The Greek philosopher—inventor of the screw propeller, explainer of the principles of leverage, conceiver of the laws of displacement of fluids while taking a bath—saw more clearly into the physical world than other men. C. Raymond Hunt (“C” for Charles) was like that, too. The New England sailor and designer was father or godfather to the deep-vee powerboat, the ubiquitous 13′ and 16′ Boston Whalers, the Concordia yawls, the modern spinnaker, the amidships cockpit sloop, the lively 110 and 210 day-racers, an improved destroyer hull design for the U.S. Navy, world-beating 5.5-Meter yachts, and perhaps scores more of boats and boat developments that were left unfinished in the creative ferment of his life, were taken up by others, or remain to be discovered.
I’ve highlighted Joseph’s comment about Hunt’s “creative ferment” because I see how it lives on today at Hunt Yachts. As they say on their website:
“Along with Hunt Design Associates, we have benefitted greatly from the design heritage of Ray Hunt and are proud to count his grandson, Ray Hunt III among our engineering team. Our company was founded on C. Raymond Hunt’s design principles, specifically the innovative, deep-v hull that still sets Hunt Yachts apart today.”
I am so pleased and excited to tell you today that I can show the results of this esteemed heritage at the Newport Boat Show this September. Just say the word, and I’ll introduce you to Ray and the entire design team, and provide you with a personal and private tour of the brand new Hunt 72:
34 knots? 34 knots!
Hunt 72 – Photo Courtesy of Hunt Yachts
Please feel free to take me up on all that I have offered you here today. You know the drill – Just launch a flare!
Oh, one last thing – Do you recall last week’s “snoozeagram” about the sudden availability of a mid-build Picnic Boat MK III? Well, it sold, in just a matter of days. As I’m known to say from time to time:
You snooze, you lose!
Thanks, and enjoy.
Big Wave Dave
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I used to be known for a particular phrase in this biz (and no, not launch a flare, which I still delight in using). This other phrase had travelled far enough around that boaters I’d never met would quote it to me at boat shows:
You snooze, you lose!
It came from my self-titled snoozeagrams, my leaks that a rare deal – a leftover model, perhaps – was there to be had for the smart and the swift.
I didn’t think I’d have an opportunity to launch any snoozeagrams here at Hinckley Yachts, because Hinckley’s are only built to order. But for a single demo boat every now and again (our 34R, this year) if you want a yacht, we’re happy to build her for you, carefully and efficiently. But there are none, so to speak, sitting on a shelf somewhere, snoozeagram-worthy.
Due to a mid-build cancellation, we have a brand new Picnic Boat Mk III splashing in just five weeks at our Maine factory. While you can choose the fabrics (if you hurry) she will look very much like this:
Photo courtesy of Hinckley Yachts
This work of nautical art needs an owner, and it should be you. She is an exceedingly well-equipped model, with upgraded Volvo 435’s (37 knots top end, as opposed to the standard Yanmar 370’s 34 knots) as well as air conditioning and a 9KW generator.
Here I will rely on my old friend Ken Kreisler to take you though the joy and wonder of a MK III:
The specifications and selected options list is lengthy, and I’d be happy to navigate it with you line by line. But as I’ve said, this is a rare opportunity, and I don’t expect her to sit around long.
So, you’ve been warned – You snooze, you lose!
II. A Thing of Beauty
I live in Westhampton Beach and work in Southampton. I keep a flats boat in Noyak, and my trawler in Sag Harbor. I’m very lucky to get around a good bit, exploring every creek, cut and bay over thirty miles of the Hamptons. And because Hinckley shallow draft jet boats can go “where no man has gone before” (that PB MK III mentioned in my snoozeagram floats in just 25″ of water) I often find them tucked away in pristine and beautiful spots.
That’s how I met an owner of another MK III, when I poled up a shallow creek in search of some striped bass earlier this season. He keeps his yacht at his dock, and she is indeed beautiful. I’m happy to say that we’ve become fishing buddies (he can cast a fly halfway to Portugal – it’s a thing of beauty).
He called me from Europe the other day, asking if I could run over to check on his boat, as OnWatch advised him that his MK III had lost AC power.
OnWatch is Hinckley’s proprietary remote monitoring system. It wirelessly reports to both the owner and our service team, in real time, the status of all mission-critical systems aboard a Hinckley.
You met Scott Bryant a few postings ago – he’s head of New Product Development at Hinckley. Here he is introducing the OnWatch phenomenon:
Its a great and useful bit of technology. And my fishing buddy? The boat was fine. But he had lost shorepower, dockside. I flipped the breaker back on, and when he returns home he’ll find his Sancerre still chilled. A thing of beauty, that OnWatch!
III. “R” Word
As you’ve been reading, I’ve been running our new Talaria 34R every chance I get. It’s been sometimes mistaken locally for her bigger sister, the 38R (perhaps because there are five 38R’s in Sag Harbor alone).
I’ve been asked a few times to compare the two boats, and this week Hinckley put this great pic up on their Facebook page. It says it much better than I can:
Photo courtesy of Hinckley Yachts
Obviously that’s the 38R up top, with the 34R to starboard. Two Hunt Yacht offerings round out the fleet.
A better understanding of the differences between the 38 and the 34 (their performance envelopes, ergonomics, etc.) are beyond the scope of this posting. Just launch a flare, and we’ll meet on a boat ASAP to discuss.
IV. And Now a Word From our Sponsor
Stay tuned for my next report, entitled “The Gorilla in the Room.” Here’s a hint of things to come:
Ciao for now, fellow boaters.
Big Wave Dave
Living the hug
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I. Headache-free Ownership – Yes, I’m opening this post the same way I closed the last one. If you laughed last week, get ready to laugh some more:
Why, you may ask, all this talk about headaches in what is supposed to be a yachting blog?
A bunch of years ago I sold a dealer demo to a knowledgeable New England yachtsman. It was a stunning 54′ “downeast” design, but after moving her up and down the east coast boat show circuit she definitely had some wear and tear on her.
My client loved her classic lines, but he was concerned about the quality of his ownership experience. I’ve always remembered his comment:
Dave, I will buy a yacht. I won’t buy a headache!
We all get that. When the most valuable of assets is our quality leisure time, who has time for headaches? The truth is that when you’re not aboard your boat only two nautical concerns should cross your cerebral cortex from time to time:
1) Did I tie her up properly?
2) Is the holding tank empty?
And that’s it!
Which brings me to Hinckley.
I was happily retired when Hinckley called me last Spring. As much as anything, what got me to “yes” was that I shared Hinckley’s philosophy of boat ownership. More specifically, I wanted to know what it was like to work for the only vertically integrated company in the biz.
VerticalIntegration, downeast style? That’s easy – Beginning to end, and top to bottom:
Hinckley designs and builds them;
I sell them (um, thatwouldbetoyou, loyal reader);
Hinckley wraps their headache-free service plan around you; and, someday,
Hinckley sells you out of your boat, and most probably into another Hinckley.
The key to it all is their “haddock-free” service plan. Here’s how it works:
Hinckley has six service yards up and down the east coast:
Southwest Harbor, Maine
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Oxford, Maryland (my fave, and not only for the homemade strawberry ice cream at the Oxford General Store)
Stuart, Florida, and
The method to their madness is that wherever you are, from a short vacation cruise all the way up to that great seasonal north/south migration, Hinckley is there for you.
Each yard is staffed with Hinckley trained and managed service teams, tied into their Service HQ in RI and the factory in Maine. Their build and service records of your specific boat are exhaustive, from the time the hull was molded right through to last winter’s winterization (Yes, I see that at delivery your shower hot water was set too hot, and we changed the mixer valve and tuned it down, as you requested). And with employees who have been working for them for decades, you can often talk to the very carpenter who mounted your mother-in-law’s heirloom mirror on your starboard bulkhead.
What underlies this no-headache approach is Hinckley’s Jet Boat Service Package. This is an all-inclusive option that provides you with fully predictable ownership expenses and dependable quality outcomes.
Hinckley’s captains can pick up your boat at your dock and bring it to the nearest service facility for winter storage. They will assign a dedicated experienced Service Manager for her stay. On arrival he will manage:
A sea trial;
The haul out and winterization;
Any recommended annual maintenance;
Any warranty work, or equipment upgrades you can imagine; and,
Bottom painting, including the jets, inside and out.
Then, come spring, they will commission her and bring her back to your dock, ready for another headache-free season.
It is a remarkable package. It also provides (as will be covered at length in one of my next posts) rock-solid support of your re-sale value, if and when that time comes. Stay tuned for that eye-opening discussion.
And oh, of course, they can do your varnish for you as well, to Hinckley’s famous standards.
I feel this last bit of context is important, loyal readers, so put on your PFD and focus your Steiner’s:
Looking back over my posts to date, I’ve noticed that without any great plan in mind one theme keeps popping up: VALUE. Whether it’s in the design, construction, technology, and now the service, it’s dawned on me that there is a strong value quotient built into these fine yachts. I didn’t know that before I got here, and it is a gratifying thing to learn.
What is that value worth to you? You’ll have to answer that question yourself. But I look forward to helping you come up with that answer, so (you know the drill) just launch a flare!
What I can provide you with is the cost, so just ask. At the end of a long and wonderful (haddock-free) day on the water I think you’ll conclude that the value provided is greater than the cost paid.
And really now, how often in yachting (and life) do we trip over that?
This is exciting! There has been a redesign of Hinckley’s 48FB, now called the Mark II. She now has a galley-up option (I love galley-ups – who wants to work in the dungeon?) and some way-cool technological improvements. I’ll devote a lot of time to this yacht in future posts, but for the moment you can read a little about it here (and enjoy the great virtual walk-through):
An in-depth video review of the 48 MK I, done by my old friend at Power&Motoryacht magazine’s Ken Kreisler (interviewing my new friend, Hinckley’s COO Mike Arietta!) is worth five minutes of your time. Just trust me on this one:
Last weekend I was thrilled to do a sea trial of our T34 Pilothouse for a client up on the North Fork. He was nice enough to snap this pic (like my Hawaiian shirt?) as I pulled away (sideways, by jetstick, of course):
In what is a very rare development for us (Hinckley’s business plan is almost entirely “build to order”) I’ve got a 2016 T34 ready to deliver to you right now! Here is the full listing, and just launch a flare if you want the inside scoop. I’ll even throw in a Hawaiian shirt:
You will recall that I had two Hinckley’s at our Westchester event last month. I loved that, as it felt like our own private mini-boatshow. I loved it so much that we are doing it again! In Montauk, no less!
From Friday, August 26th through Monday the 29th I will have a Talaria 29r,
and the (yes, available) 2016 T34 Pilothouse mentioned above:
This is a wonderful opportunity to see two fine yachts in a glorious setting, the Montauk Lake Club!
Montauk in late August is a busy place. I recommend you register like they used to vote in Chicago – Early and often!
This was a long one, folks. Thanks for sticking with me to the end. I hope to see you in Montauk, and I’ll look for you on the water.
Thanks, and enjoy!
Big Wave Dave
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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?
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.
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!
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):
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:
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!
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:
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
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.
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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:
Concept Development (ever-cognizant of new developments in the aerospace, home automation and automotive industries):
Target Price Analysis;
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 elevenfeetlong 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:
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
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. ButWhatAboutNext 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 Talaria29R –
and a Talaria34PilotHouse –
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:
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!
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:
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.
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:
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):
Thereare 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:
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:
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
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:
So this clip from 1933 – to me one of the funniest in film history – playfully illustrates the difference between the real deal, and that which is not quite. I see this in the boat biz all the time.
Last week I wrote about fun times at yacht builder Happy Hours. They are fun, but the truth is they don’t compare to those of the Marketing people. Let’s just say they can get a little … raucous! They also have their own unique lingo. For example, I’ve heard heard this refrain more than a few times:
“But how can we make our boats more … aspirational?”
Seeing my dumb look, they explained that there might not even be a yachting industry without the concept of “aspirational brands.” If you don’t know what your clients aspire to own, you can’t build it. Or, even, (cue Marx Brothers, please) how to copy it. And copying does work.
Up to a point.
When I mention Hinckley to a knowledgeable boater, they almost always show a little of that aspirational look – a certain wistful gaze, a soft sigh, a thoughtful expression that shows they know exactly what they desire, and why. There are not many yacht builders who can elicit that look as intensely as Hinckley.
I think one reason is how much of the appeal, by design, is almost subliminal – just beneath the radar screen, let us say – and it’s because of all the curves! You would be hard-pressed to find a flat surface on these boats. One of the carpenters told me that she’d walk eight miles out of her way to avoid a boring surface. And trust me, curves are difficult to engineer. They take wood of just the right grain, skills of just the right type, and more labor hours than you might imagine. And lots of sandpaper! Here are some examples of the lengths they will go:
The Toe Rail Bench, clamps galore! Note the word “BEND.” These toe rails vary in three dimensions over every inch of their entire running surface, like an Ionian column.
And how about this: Any builder can put in a flat door. But howzabout this homage to a classic roll-top desk?
Why do all this work that virtually no one else chooses to do? I suppose because when you do it right, you get the aesthetic payoff that drives those aspirational feelings. You get a yacht that from the exterior looks like it’s in motion even when it’s at rest. And from the interior, one that feels as warm and comfortable as home.
So they do what they do. Others can come close. But sit at the helm of these jet boats, push that joy stick forward (or backwards, or sideways) and my experience is that you’ll feel that kick-in-the-butt passion that Hinckley delivers.
And, loyal readers, next weekend you can!
Yes, I will have the brand new Talaria 34R (as in Runabout) at Sag Harbor’s Town Dock for sea trials this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I suggest you reserve your appointment now, lest you fall victim to the motto I’m known for in this industry – You Snooze, You lose.
If you haven’t been to Sag in awhile, there are a bunch of town docks east and west of Main Street. Our slip, #5 on Long Wharf is shown here:
I look forward to sharing this wind-in-your-hair experience with you, as well as some early order pricing details (privately).
So ciao for now, and as always, thanks for listening.
PS: Next posting? Seven Miles of Hinckley, and photography of the just splashed Hunt 72!
https://thefogwarning.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/yachts04.jpg5991169dave mallachhttps://thefogwarning.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/logo-fog-300x69.pngdave mallach2016-06-19 18:21:232021-03-04 17:58:24The Real Deal
Or, more to the point: Why a Hinckley? Well, here’s one [lengthy] answer:
When you get a bunch of builders together at happy hour, sooner or later the conversations turns to this:
“What should we build, and how should we build it?”
It can be a tough call.
A builder can determine, for example, that a yacht of X size and Y price will succeed in the marketplace. So they focus almost exclusively on designing and building a yacht that hits that price point, dead center. Everything else (aesthetics, performance, safety, functionality, durability, customer service, warrantee) is important to them, of course, but is not necessarily their principle objective (except safety, of course).
So, the bottom line is that when someone builds to a price, you usually get what someone thought you’d be satisfied with.
Or a builder can work day and night, to the exclusion of almost everything else, to draw and build a yacht of stunning beauty. But it it takes a lot of time, money, skill, and luck to build an aesthetically perfect yacht that also covers the “everything else” list, above. Too often the all-important items on that list can become … secondary?
It can be hard to build an enduring business around secondary.
Which brings me to Hinckley Yachts. I direct your attention to this wonderful book: Hinckley Yachts – An American Icon, by Nick Voulgaris:
It is a thorough, engaging, and beautifully photographed history of the boats Hinckley has been building since 1928. I’ve got your copy here in my Southampton office, so stop by and grab it. This book really brought home to me that you cannot build fine yachts for eighty-eight successful years without doing everything just right.
I thought I’d explore this “everything just right” theme in this blog for the rest of this summer. I’m going to start with my favorite “just right” and that is Quality. Because you can’t walk through the Hinckley yard (and I urge you to do so) without seeing that Hinckley decided first and foremost to build a yacht of the highest quality.
I took these pics up in Maine last month, and they says it all for me:
Hinckley’s Delivery Room (more on this below)
My first point is too obvious to say, but I will: You can’t build a quality yacht without quality people. I’ve gotten to know the wonderful “down east” people in Trenton, Maine. Some have worked for Hinckley for thirty years. Some, like young Trevor here, are more recent employees, having come up through Hinckley’s brilliant Apprenticeship Program with local colleges:
Trevor is “the helm guy.” When you buy a Hinckley, Trevor built the helm. It takes him about a week, from scratch, and you can see the pride he takes in his work. Here’s what it looks like at the end of his week:
Watching Trevor work, it became clear to me that quality is interwoven into Hinckley’s cultural DNA. They understand better than most builders I know that the end stage (an owner’s complete enjoyment) depends on the attention given to stages far, far earlier in the process.
I’d like to share with you two examples of Hinckley’s wholly unique approach to this: Electrical wiring, and preliminary sea trials. They may seem a little arcane, but they directly affect the quality of the ownership experience. So, if I may:
Wiring – Most builders build the hull, and then immediately attach the deck. At some point after that, in cramped conditions with limited headroom, a team of electricians (either employees, or commonly, subcontractors) come aboard to do the the wiring, fighting for every inch of space with carpenters, plumbers, engineers, and other assorted hanger’s on (um, that could include me).
Now yachts have a shocking (pun intended) amount of electrical wiring. On a seventy-footer, for example, wiring can exceed two tons in weight! It’s so heavy, in fact, that designers have to figure out how to balance it to avoid listing to one side (typically most of it is put on one side, and, for balance, the generator(s) to the other).
In those cramped and busy conditions (not to mention hot and dark), perfect electrical work is almost impossible. And electrical, more than almost anything else on a yacht, must be perfect. Even if everything works fine at owner turnover, five or ten years later an errant screw head can finally work its way through a live wire, causing a blown circuit, or worse. As a long-time Sales Director at Hinckley told me,
“We build these yachts so that our owner’s grandchildren can run them when they grow up.”
For that, you need special care.
Hinckley wiring is done by their own full time wiring specialists, fiftyyards and a floor above the yacht, in their Wiring Room. Hundreds of color-coded and hand-labeled wires are bundled into harnesses, connected to their circuit breaker boards, and tested in full right there in the shop. Then, and only then, the whole assembly is moved like a giant anaconda into the boat for install and re-testing.
It is the best process I’ve ever seen. Every builder should do it this way. I don’t know any that do. It’s a perfect example of why, as a senior manager at Hinckley for almost 20 years told me,
“We’ve never in my time had a warrantee claim come in for more than $5,000.”
I verified it, loyal readers. It is true. And it’s the most shocking thing (no pun intended) I’ve heard in my 20+ years in this industry.
Still with me? How about Preliminary Sea Trials – Every other builder I’ve ever come across finishes the yacht, including hull painting, bottom painting, and varnish, and then splashes it for preliminary sea trials to see how she runs. Whatever has to be fixed is done at the docks, where glass breaks, splinter’s fly, and scratches swarm. It is almost impossible to return the yacht to its perfect state. It’s such an obvious and routine process that it never occurred to me it could, and should, be done any other way.
It can, and it does, at Hinckley:
Hinckley finishes all mechanical work first, before the cosmetics. Then, before the boat is painted and varnished, she goes into the water for a couple of weeks of testing. When everything checks out 100% she is re-hauled and moved to the Delivery Room for cosmetic completion (that’s where the sign – The Next Inspector is our Customer– hangs).
It is a more expensive way to build a boat. But by identifying issues early, before crews have to worry about cosmetic concerns, the builders can work in a an unfettered way to get the yacht just right.
So, I’ll end as I began: “Why a duck?” asked Chico.
“Because the water is deep!” answers Groucho.
Thanks for listening. The next post will be full of details about our Experience Hinckley event in Sag Harbor from June 23rd – 27th.
There, with your own eyes, hands and butts, you can run a Hinckley 34R and understand exactly what I mean by Hinckley Quality.
Thanks, as always, for listening. And, as always, if you have any questions, just launch a flare!
https://thefogwarning.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/vougaris.jpg225225dave mallachhttps://thefogwarning.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/logo-fog-300x69.pngdave mallach2016-06-13 21:55:182021-03-04 17:58:24Why a duck?