December 23, 2011
Hinckley Bids Fond Farewell To 2011.
“Sales exceeded our expectations and the company as a whole enjoyed a very healthy year,” said Jim McManus, president and CEO of The Hinckley Company, “and our yards were busy completing some very interesting projects. We are excited about the prospects for 2012 because during this past year, we took advantage of the favorable hiring environment to bring a lot of very experienced, very skilled people into all our locations and at all levels of the organization. We continued to invest in new product development and as a result we will launch two exciting new models into the marketplace in 2012—Hinckley T34 this summer and the Talaria 48 in February.”
In Trenton, ME, Hinckley’s boat building shops were filled with hulls on their way to completion. Ten Talaria 48s are underway with the first two in final sea trials and in the paint booth. During November, the busy scene impressed Governor Paul LePage during a visit to the company to learn more about job creation in the boat building industry. More than 80 employees have been added at the Trenton plant alone. Andy Fitzpatrick, Director of Manufacturing and the Governor’s host for the day, is among the recently hired. Fitzpatrick joins the company from the automotive industry where he honed his expertise in current manufacturing techniques. Among his many talented new colleagues are Wyth Ingebritson who came on staff as senior project manager from a nearby sailboat builder, and Fred Berry who came from a noted boatbuilder on the Great Lakes to guide mechanical systems design at the plant.
A short hop up the Maine coast Hinckley’s original Southwest Harbor location, the yard established to build boats for local fishermen, worked on restoring and refitting a broad variety of elegant power and sailing yachts. An 80’ aluminum Burger left the yard recently a gleaming navy blue with a replated bottom after pulling in just weeks before a faded burgundy. The S/Y Freesia, the largest vessel ever built by The Hinckley Company also paid a visit in 2011 for minor repairs of wear and tear incurred during several trans-Atlantic passages. If time had taken its toll on the boat built in 1993, the craftsmen, many of whom had worked on the boat originally, were on hand to reverse the effects. The projects were completed under the direction of yard manager, Bruce Fournier, new to Hinckley in 2011, but hardly new to the business of running a boatyard. Fournier brings 25 years of experience in boatbuilding and running a major CT boatyard to his role at Hinckley Southwest Harbor.
In Rhode Island, Hinckley corporate offices reflected company growth with the addition of Rosemary O’Brien as director of marketing and Deborah Casey as director of human resources.
Across the hall in the Portsmouth offices of Hinckley Yacht Services, Guy Gauvin took the helm as yard manager for this, the largest of the Hinckley yards. In taking over his new role Gauvin is actually returning home to RI after a two year stint with Hinckley on the Chesapeake running the two Hinckley yards there. The Portsmouth yard has always been a haven for large yacht repair and refit and 2011 was no exception: the custom 116 foot QS Atlantic will leave soon with fresh paint, two new Onan generators, main engines that have been rebuilt by Hinckley mechanics, new air conditioning and new electronics. Vesper, a 95’ Frers design also spent time in the shops for extensive cosmetic work.
The Portsmouth yard is set on 13 acres and has staff technicians certified to work on all the major brands of marine equipment. This year’s staff additions included Josh Amaral in the electronics shop. Amaral is certified by Raymarine, B&G, Furuno, Simrad and KVH. In 2011, acquiring the best personnel was the goal, in 2012 it will be continuing to invest in people. “We will be focused aggressively on improving the skills of our existing workforce in 2012 with an emphasis on re-certifying our techs and continuously educating our tradespeople to make sure every one of them is up to date and continually improving,” Gauvin said.
More than 200 boats are stored for a long winter’s nap in the Mantoloking, NJ Hinckley Yacht Services yard this season. Owners looking for winter service of these boats will have two new service managers on whom to rely, Don Mueller and Tom Miller. Don shares a wealth of local knowledge having come from the area’s other yards, and Tom is a returning jetboat expert. The Mantoloking yard recently received a certificate of stewardship from the regional offices of the EPA for its extraordinary efforts to preserve the environment, even while providing the area’s premier paint and fiberglass services.
The northern yards faced down hurricane Irene in 2011. Over 400 boat owners turned to Hinckley for safe harbor and haul out. No boat was turned away and the company was able to record no damage and no injuries to personnel despite a frenetic pace of activity over a short period of time.
On the Chesapeake, the Annapolis and Oxford yards hummed with activity. Mike Grame joined the staff as a service manager, Ed Fernandez brought fresh composite and Awlgrip skills with which to head the paint team, and Mike Sullivan returned to Hinckley with his 23 years of carpentry experience. Winding down the year new manager Eliot Anderson stepped aboard. Anderson has been with The Hinckley Company for 10 years and has worked in four of the company’s locations.
Hinckley Yacht Services in Savannah, located on the Wilmington River on the Intracoastal Waterway finished what might just be the yard’s most interesting project yet in 2011. The yard took on a 54’ Savannah Yachts boat that had been about a third complete when that company closed its doors. The hull and its components were purchased by an individual who turned the project over to Yard Manager Mike Pranschke and his team at Hinckley to put together. “The boat arrived in truckloads. We installed all the systems, the cabinetry, the Man engines, the running gear. It was left to us to deck the boat. It took about 14 months and required a staff of 18, and the owner is thrilled with the outcome,” said Pranschke. So the next time you see a Savannah Yacht called Anna Lisa, know she’s got a little bit of Hinckley in her genes.
In Hinckley Yacht Services Stuart, Florida facility, two seasoned marine professionals with names familiar to the boating industry joined the staff. Brian Donnelly took over the leadership role in the yard bringing 13 years of experience from a large yard in North Carolina. Donnelly holds an engineering degree in Yacht and Boatyard Management from the Southampton Institute in the UK. Michael Bach joined the Stuart office in the role of director of service sales. Bach will concentrate on bringing large projects into the Stuart, RI and ME yards.
The Stuart facility added four painters to its staff, including Serid Green from one of FL’s most respected builders and Gary Simpson from one of FL’s largest yacht yards. Mechanic Russ Pellecchia adds big diesel engine experience to complement Stuart’s recent designation as a certified Caterpillar dealer. The yard completed major projects this year on a 55’ Tayana sailboat and two of Nascar’s four boat fleet. Nascar’s High Banks, a Burger 86, and ‘500,’ a 61’ Bertram sportfish both enjoyed the benefit of Hinckley attention.
The Hinckley Company congratulated Stuart’s Sales Director Eric Champlin as its top-selling yacht salesperson of 2011.
On the west coast of FL, Marty Letts was appointed head of the team. While the five-man group is a mobile-based unit, they managed several large-scale projects in 2011 including engine rebuilding and the installation of a jet control system. A new mechanic joined the group there and the team is busy working on yachts from Sarasota to Boca Grande to Marco Island.
“Now in our yards, 75 percent of our business comes from non-Hinckley owners,” explained McManus, “so our reputation continues to grow. We believe the new Hinckley T34 will also introduce new members into our family of owners. ”