The Real Deal

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:

sag docksarrow

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!