Marion Stewart and Sam Belling Celebrate a Pacific Coast Boating Lifestyle Aboard two Hinckleys
BY ERIN LENTZ
Just a few weeks after delivery of their Hinckley Sport Boat 40X, Sam Belling found himself in six-foot swells off the coast of Baja. As the owner of two Hinckleys (the other a Talaria 48 MKII) with his partner, Marion Stewart, he wasn’t surprised at how their newest purchase handled a turbulent sea.“ The 40X is very seaworthy and can take a beating,” Belling says. From their home in the San Juan Islands, Washington, he adds “The biggest challenge in Baja is the wind.” Together with Marion — both experienced boaters and avid outdoor enthusiasts — their north-south boating lifestyle is anchored in nonstop adventure.
THE BEST OF BAJA
The wildlife is reason enough to cruise the Sea of Cortez — motivation for the couple to spend nearly half the year in Mexico. “After boating all summer up north on the 48,” Marion says, “We would go south and were really missing having a boat. The whales and the dolphins — you can only truly enjoy these things from a boat.”
For Sam, who enjoys the challenge and adrenaline of open water journeys, the Sport Boat 40X was the ideal fit.
“The boat is very seaworthy, with a Ray Hunt-designed hull,” Sam says. “She can take a beating. We’ve gotten into six-to eight-foot seas, and we’ve been blown around at anchorages with winds blowing 20 to 30 knots in the middle of the night. What’s nice about the Hinckley brand is that the boats are reliable, so comfortable, yet also very elegant.”
Considering their penchant to island hop around the San Juans in Washington state, the same curiosity finds them navigating remote Baja locales. “Between Loreto and La Paz, the anchorages are absolutely spectacular,” Sam adds. “We have at least a dozen islands to drop the hook in. Whether seeing dolphin and humpback whales or fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling, there’s so much to see and do, plus the hiking on some of these islands is beautiful. “And there’s no one around,” adds Marion.
“The main reason we bought both Hinckleys is they not only look good, but they are built to handle open seas. . . No matter what’s being thrown at us, we know the boat’s going to handle it.”— Sam Belling
FASHION & FUNCTION
“The main reason we bought both Hinckleys is they not only look good, but they are built to handle open seas,” Sam says. “No matter what’s being thrown at us, we know the boat’s going to handle it.” The couple is used to both boats garnering attention, with onlookers typically commenting on the handcrafted wood. Conversation, just like most chatter about open water journeying, typically veers toward, “Where to next?” Both Sam and Marion emphasize nature remains their inspiration, no matter where they choose to explore.
“We both share a great love for the outdoors,” Sam says. “We like being in raw, open nature, and being out on a boat and the challenges it brings with it. It keeps us sharp. We love cruising with orcas in the Pacific Northwest, or with humpback whales in Baja.” He adds, “And Marion’s from Germany, so she’s tough. She likes the colder water.”
“Boating keeps you fit and young,” Marion adds. “We’ll see 80-year-old boaters in great shape. I love to go places we’ve never been and can’t get to by car. Desolation Sound in British Columbia is gorgeous, with stunning fjords and high mountains.”
Naturally, where next becomes the topic of our convo, too. “We want to go to Alaska,” Sam quickly notes. “That will be our next adventure on the 48. And with the 40X, we want to take it across the Sea of Cortez and go to mainland Mexico and explore the west coast. If you go from Cabo, you have about 180 miles of open ocean.” Marion adds, “It takes a lot of work but it’s a labor of love.”
RADAR: Marion and Sam’s Baja Favorites
SUR BEACH HOUSE Festive Cabo club for margs and sushi. Drop the hook in front of the club and swim, or take a water taxi in. surcabo.com
PUERTO ESCONDIDO Modern, clean marina, great staff, market, and fuel. marinapuertoescondido.com
LA BRISA Pizza oven, great bar, and live music at Puerto Escondido.
VISTA AL MAR This beachside restaurant looks south towards Islas Danzante and Isla Carmen. Best chocolate clams, chased with an ice cold Pacifico.
ISLANDS NEAR LA PAZ The Sierra de la Giganta mountain range runs along the eastern side of Baja and looks like you’re in Tahiti. Drop your hook close to shore and swim to a beach. That’s a bonus with the 40X — a very shallow, three-foot draft.