Hinckley Talaria 44 Jet

Hinckley Talaria 44 Jet — By George L. Petrie — May 2000

The Maine Attraction
High-tech controls, state-of-the-art construction, and classic styling will draw you to the Talaria 44 Jet.
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I was aboard a new Talaria 44 Jet heading toward the Miami ship channel at about 23 knots with Hinckley's Eric Champlin at the helm when he said, "Let me show you what I'd do if a Jet-Ski suddenly crossed into our path." I watched him pull the jet drives straight into reverse without touching the throttles. My gut tightened as I waited for the gears to grind in protest.

But there was no grinding. There was no vibration. All that happened was that the buckets dropped over the outlets on the dual 321 Hamilton waterjet drives, causing their thrust to change instantly from forward to reverse. Remembering that jet planes do the same thing when they land, I braced myself for fear of pitching forward.

My concerns were unfounded. Smoothly, almost in slow motion, the bow dropped gently and we came to a stop within two boat lengths. This was only the first of many impressive feats Hinckley's revolutionary JetStick drive performed as we put the Talaria 44 through her paces. By the end of the day, it was clear that this computerized maneuvering control system creates a whole new paradigm.

First of all, forget everything you know about handling with twin screws. Forward and reverse for both jets are controlled by a single lever (the JetStick), so there's no way to set one drive ahead and the other astern. As for maneuvering, twin engines produce no advantages over a single engine with this system. Nevertheless, the Hinckley jet proved easier to maneuver than a twin-engine propeller drive.

The Talaria 44 Jet uses the same control system Maine-based Hinckley first introduced on its Picnic Boat. Easier and more intuitive than the joystick on a video game, JetStick has three control modes. It can be switched from one to another at any time by just touching a button.

In "docking" mode, after about 15 seconds of practice, I turned the boat in her own length, moved her fore and aft, sideways, diagonally, and in any combination of directions. In its neutral position, JetStick automatically balances forward and reverse thrust to establish a "running neutral" at any desired throttle setting. Moving the JetStick forward or backward changes the proportion of thrust fore and aft. Twisting the JetStick steers the boat; tilting it activates a 10-hp bow thruster.

One thing that makes steering so simple is the rams-head deflector on the Hamilton jet drives. Turn the wheel to the right and the bow moves to the right, in forward or reverse. Even with no headway (fore and aft thrust in balance), turning the JetStick moves the stern directly to the side, pivoting the boat on its axis.

In "power steer" mode, the JetStick controls forward and reverse, but without the thrust "balancing" feature of docking mode. Twisting the JetStick turns the boat to port or starboard; when the JetStick is released, it returns to steering straight ahead. This is a great feature on a long trip, allowing hands-off-the-wheel operation with complete control.

The "normal" helm mode uses conventional wheel steering, with JetStick providing only forward, reverse, and bow thruster control. This is also the default mode that engages if there is any electrical or computer failure in the JetStick system.

Next page > Talaria 44 Jet continued > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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