Our Story

Heritage

Bob Hinckley Testing Early Fiberglass Boat
Bob Hinckley testing the stability of an early experimental fiberglass dinghy

In 1928, the Hinckley Company built its first boat. It was the beginning of an unbroken line of vessels that would come to earn the collective admiration of sailors and yachtsmen around the world. But on that day in 1928, on the waters of Southwest Harbor, Maine, the only eyes cast on our efforts were those of a few New England lobstermen for whom the first Hinckley was made. Strong and purposeful, the boat’s design set a course that all Hinckleys, both sail and power, have followed for 90 years. In pursuing this course, each new boat to emerge from the Yard has probed a little deeper into uncharted realms of nautical design. Today’s sailboats and jetboats reflect an unmistakable line of thinking: How can we make it stronger, faster and safer?

1959 Hinckley's First Fiberglass Boat, a Bermuda 40
1959 Hinckley’s First Fiberglass Boat, a Bermuda 40

Even at a time when all boats were wooden, those made by Hinckley stood apart. There was something in the way they moved through the water — stately, proud and elegant — or swung their pennants in the harbor at dusk. People who knew boats could instantly spot a Hinckley; those who didn’t were simply able to appreciate the graceful shape and glistening brightwork.

Their lines were a direct result of their need to endure the rigors of life among the rocky coves and jutting promontories of Maine’s Acadian coast. Then as now, frivolous design had no place on such unforgiving waters. A specific form was borne of these nautical circumstances, characterized by a strong, well-found hull, sweeping deck lines to quickly shed foaming waters, with overhanging bows and fine counters to lend stability in angry seas.

Their speed and stamina were a direct result of Henry Hinckley’s training. An aeronautical engineer by education, he insisted on making his boats light yet strong. And he was never afraid to innovate. In the 1950s, for instance, Hinckley was one of the first to forego the traditional oak frames and planking in favor of fiberglass — according to the pundits, completely unsuited to the construction of a “proper” yacht. But Hinckley saw in fiberglass what the traditionalists had missed — an opportunity to save weight while adding strength. And without sacrificing the aesthetic beauty for which Hinckleys were known.

 

Craftsmanship

At Hinckley, we build just 50 boats a year. We build each one in our shop stem to stern, to order. Nothing is left for installation by others. We set the standards. We stand behind the boat. For life.

We hire only, as we say in Maine, the finest kind. Many of our skilled tradesmen have been with us for years, and some for generations.

And what is our work like? Well, there are ten coats of varnish on our toe rail, but if it requires eleven to make it just so, then there will be eleven. The rail is made of eight pieces of Burmese teak shaped on a forming jig to carefully follow the sheer of the boat and stand not too proud, nor too flat, on the deck edge. Is there another way to do it? Yes. Is there a better way? No. We hope you’ll visit our shop when your boat is being built.

Performance

Hinckley Yachts JetStick

To design our boats, Hinckley selects the premier designers of the era. Our newest jetboat hulls are penned by Michael Peters. Then, each Hinckley is made using our patented DualGuard laminate process. Synonym: ultimate hull. Carbon fiber in proportions only a racing yacht could approach. E-glass and Corecell coring in weights and densities selected for load. Lightweight for speed and efficiency. Stiff for a peerless ride. Strong because the sea demands it. Hinckley’s composite engineering is second to none in delivering yachts that meet or beat their design targets.

We pair our Hinckley hulls with waterjet propulsion, which is the preferred propulsion system of militaries around the world and the gold standard of drive systems. Smooth, quiet, lower vibrating jets offer the characteristics that boaters crave and their shoal-water capability is without equal. With fewer than a dozen moving parts, jets are highly reliable. And they are standard on every Hinckley.

Hinckley’s industry-leading Jetstick control, now in its second generation, offers unparalleled handling. The original system gave the helmsman precision control that made close quarters maneuvering a breeze. Now, Jetstick II adds Heading Hold and virtual anchoring. Wireless remote steering is an option on our larger models for occasions when the best place to drive from isn’t the helm.

We launch each hull twice for sea trials before delivery to be sure that it’s perfect. And that’s just part of the reason we have among the lowest warranty claim rates in the boating industry.

Design

The iconic Hinckley look needs little in the way of explanation. Nothing looks like a Hinckley. Each of our boats carries its lines in exquisite proportion and consummate detail. Onboard, there is a perfect balance struck between interior and exterior space that provides a sporting feel, a true connection to the water balanced with amenities just right for your cruise.

The elements of the boat’s surface are combined with drive systems, engines, mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems sized and placed to achieve targets that give the boat responsive handling, confident acceleration, stability and comfort underway.