The Hinckley Yacht company was founded in 1928 in Maine, producing their luxury sailing yachts and jet-powered Picnic Boats in Trenton. It’s the unique powering of the Picnic Boat, and the classic lines, that still create a pride of ownership for today’s owners. With the extended boating season in the Southeast, a significant portion of the fleet migrates to southern ports so Hinckley Yachts met their customers’ needs by opening a full-service boatyard in Savannah, Ga.
Lying just four miles from Historic Savannah, the Hinckley Yachts Service Center is easily accessible via the ICW or Wassaw Sound. General Manager Dustin A. Hartley, said. “We offer a full range of yacht services for Hinckley owners and for all other boats too. We utilize two travel lifts; one is a 35-ton lift and one is a 50-ton lift, and we can handle anything up to 65 feet in length.
“Over the last ten years we’ve added a large service building for our carpenters, mechanics and electricians to work in,” said Hartley. “We are one of seven Hinckley service yards along the East Coast, with the nearest brokerage at the Stuart, Fla. location. We take great pride in our customer service satisfaction,” Hartley continued, pointing to glowing reviews online at ActiveCaptain.
The first generation Picnic Boat, which made its debut in 1994, has evolved throughout the years to keep up with the demands of Hinckley’s loyal customers. “The Picnic Boat has a jetstick technology that is not terribly new, but we consider this boat to be a runabout, and jet controls make it more easily maneuverable,” said Hartley. Even experienced boaters may not have experience with jet boats, so Hinckley owners receive a three-day training course upon delivery. Although the focus is on open water performance using the patented jetstick, the course also covers maneuvering in tight spaces around the docks.
Picnic Boats can offer customized options for personal preference, and they come with the Hinckley promise of 24/7 access to support. Of course, one can never be without worry or concern when navigating public waters, but having a well-maintained 36-footer under your control can provide for maximum enjoyment when on the water.
Hinckley owners are willing to pay a premium for the name and prestige associated with these boats. Others consider the beauty a powerful intangible factor. Randolph J. Friedman of Mount Pleasant, S.C. lives on a peninsula known as Haddrell’s Point overlooking Charleston Harbor, with his docked Picnic Boat in the foreground of that view. He purchased On The Rocks in 2004.
“I had always wanted a Hinckley Yacht of my own, since they carry such a distinction for quality and for beauty,” said Friedman. “When making my purchase I told Hinckley CEO Jim McManus that I was unique in that my Picnic Boat would stay in full view from my home.” Not all owners have the same benefit. For Friedman, the Hinckley enhances his home life.
“For starters, the Picnic Boat really compliments my home, and its beauty is important to me,” said Friedman. “The lines on a Hinckley are classic and subjective, which is no surprise since the boat is designed to connect with an owner’s sense of on-the-water aesthetics. In fact, that same beauty motivates me to keep my boat maintained as best I can.
“This is my first Hinckley purchase, and I have found it to be great for cruising the Charleston Harbor where shipping container ship traffic is a regularity,” said Friedman. “The extended cockpit has a large enclosure with plenty of cushions facing toward the stern, so there is usually a place for my family and me to sit and stay dry while Captain Verlaque is at the helm.
“We have six-foot tides twice daily, and since the jetdrive only draws two feet of water we have more clearance at low tide,” said Friedman. “I also think it has a shorter beam than other 36-footers. We love spending time aboard On The Rocks.” The same sentiment among others is why Hinckley owners are very loyal, and often become repeat customers.