Hinckley SC42

Exclusive: Hinckley SC42 By Capt. Bill Pike — October 2004

State of the Art

Hinckley intros its first inboard, and She’s both gorgeous and a great performer.

 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Hinckley SC42
• Part 2: Hinckley SC42
• A Different Kind of Exhaust
• Hinckley SC42 Specs
• Hinckley SC42 Deck Plan
• Hinckley SC42 Acceleration Curve
• Hinckley SC42 Photo Gallery

 Related Resources
• Boat Test Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• The Hinckley Company

I had three questions in mind when I pulled into the parking lot behind the venerable, white-clapboard house that serves as the Hinckley sales office in Southwest Harbor, Maine. First, why was Hinckley, originator of the most popular jet-powered 36-footer ever built, the Picnic Boat, introducing two new sport cruisers, each offered with nothing but plain ol’ twin-screw inboard power? Second, what would these boats, the SC38 and the SC42, look like and how would they perform?

And third, where was the best place in town to get a couple of lobster rolls?

Even in the parking lot, the fog was wicked. In fact, it was so wicked that, while unloading test gear from my rental car, I began wondering whether there’d be enough visibility out on the water to actually sea trial the test boat du jour, an SC42 prototype optioned out with a hardtop, a few fish-fighting essentials, and a set of 730-hp MAN D2876 LE 405 diesel inboards, each turning a big H&H propeller. As I trudged up the office steps, I could see my friend Ben Ellison inside. A resident of nearby Camden as well as PMY’s electronics editor, he was already chatting up the Hinckley folks and drinking hot coffee, an appealing idea given the clamminess in the air. Ellison was going to join me for the sea trial of the 42—if it in fact took place. He was interested in the boat’s unusual exhaust system.

“Let’s do your first question first, Bill,” said Hinckley marketing head Ed Roberts after we’d all exchanged pleasantries. He then quickly synopsized the thinking behind the SC introduction. “We hope to tap a wholly new set of customers,” he explained, “people who want to own a Hinckley but haven’t bought one thus far, mostly because they’re into inboard power as well as a slightly lower price point, relative to our Talaria line.”

Ellison asked if Hinckley was backing away from jets in any way. “No, not at all,” Roberts replied, citing as proof the upcoming launch of the company’s largest jet boat to date, the Talaria 55.

“Now to your second question,” Roberts said as he handed Ellison and me a couple of neatly stapled stacks of drawings, renderings, and photographs, all depicting various versions of the new SC38 and SC42. Silence ensued. Finally Ellison and I glanced knowingly over our glasses at each other. The SCs were gorgeous, whether portrayed in open configurations or tricked out with tuna towers, outriggers, hardtops, or combinations thereof. It seemed obvious that the traditional New England bass boat was the primary inspiration for styling and layout, but there’d been plenty of updating, too. To gauge just how much, all you had to do was peruse the photo of the company’s first sport cruiser, designed by Henry Hinckley in 1940. It was an angular creature, truth be told—even a tad clunky.

The SC hull form was anything but, however. Drawn by Sarasota-based naval architect Michael Peters, a guy who’s done numerous offshore race boats and performers for manufacturers like Cabo, Intrepid, Cigarette, and Magnum, it featured short prop tunnels to boost speed while reducing shaft angle and draft, parabolic hull sections with a transom deadrise of 20 degrees to soften the ride in challenging seas, and a wraparound chine to shed spray, especially at the bow.
“Fog’s still thick,” said Roberts at length, nodding towards the harbor outside, an observation that cast doubt on my getting the rest of my second question answered via sea trial, at least within the next few hours. Nevertheless, we all departed the office, piled into Roberts’ big SUV, and hit the trail for nearby Manset, where our test boat was waiting.

Next page > Part 2: Hinckley’s justly renowned for a superb fit and finish. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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