SC42 — By Capt. Bill Pike —
State of the Art
Part 2: Hinckley’s justly renowned for a superb fit and finish.
Miracle of miracles! When we arrived, the sun was peeking through weakly but periodically; it looked like we’d be able to safely sea trial the test boat, at least during breaks in the fog. So, once our electronic MANs were cranked (with nary a whiff of smoke, by the way), If we went, creeping north toward Somes Sound, with a fog signal blaring from our single-trumpet Kahlenberg air horn and a set of exquisitely detailed images on our optional Raymarine RL80C radar and RL80CRC chartplotter.
En route to Somes, mostly because I’d so instantaneously and joyously been attracted to her close-quarters-handling characteristics, I was temporarily overcome with quirkiness and drove the SC42 backwards through a mooring field chockful of sailboats—with all due respect for the vagaries of fog and circumstance, of course. It was a piece of cake. I merely centered the wheel, rotated the Stidd helm chair slightly, and manipulated the Teleflex levers with my fingers while looking over my left shoulder. Visibility was great, all the way around, and the level of maneuverability was gratifying—using the throttles to the right of the wheel was totally unnecessary. Didn’t need the thruster, either!
I put the boat on plane in a slick-calm sea once we got to Somes and the mist cleared for a while. As the accompanying acceleration curve shows, the process went smoothly, without the stalls or struggles that flat spots and/or dips signify. The top speed of 45.2 mph was sporty, in part due to the optimized strength-to-weight ratio of Hinckley’s DualGuard Composite Construction, which, among other things, entails infusion of hull and deck with vinylester resin using SCRIMP. Our range figures looked good from an offshore fishing perspective, although it’s worth noting that we had an extra, optional 110-gallon fuel tank onboard, which stretched our figures somewhat. Running angles coming out of the hole were lofty enough to almost obviate visibility over the bow, at least momentarily, an attribute I corrected by applying tab prior to goosing the throttles. And the boat’s turning radius at speed was pretty broad, a foible that I’m told Hinckley will soon address by adding articulation to the SC42’s rudders.
We just beat the fog back to the dock. To take advantage of the warmth afforded by a couple of still hot-to-the-touch diesels, Ellison and I toured the engine room first, after lifting the bridge deck (with large day hatch for daily engine-room checks) via hinges on the forward edge and electric actuators with plenty of travel. Accessibility to service points was good and so was the engineering, what with the strikingly compact VonWidmann Designs exhaust system (see “A Different Kind of Exhaust,” this story) and the savvy arrangement of auxiliary equipment. Wire runs were installed in slapdash fashion in spots, though, an aesthetic matter the engineers at Hinckley say they’re working on. For example, I came across a fuel-gauge sender wire that was merely tie-wrapped to a fuel-tank fitting when it should have been secured with proper connectors to a nearby stringer.
The rest of the boat was spectacular. Hinckley’s justly renowned for a superb fit and finish, and the test boat’s accommodations, both below and topside, lived up to the company’s reputation and then some—for pure high-toned class you still can’t beat multiple layers of tried-and-true Epifanes high-gloss varnish. The layout was typical of the express-boat genre, with a master forward, galley/head/dinette area abaft it, and another dinette/lounge area topside, between the helm area and the cockpit. Standout features included a separate stall shower in the head and a two-person bench opposite the starboard-side Stidd at the helm, with a reversible back so it works as both companion and dinette seating.
“You had a third question, right?” Roberts grinned as Ellison and I finished up.
“Most assuredly,” I replied. “The best place in town to get a couple of lobster rolls?”
A short drive answered that query. Within ten minutes of entering the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound on Bar Harbor Road, I was constrained to enthuse, “Great food... great boat... great day!” Ellison and Roberts were too busy eating to agree.
The Hinckley Company Phone: (207) 244-5531. www.hinckleyyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.