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Hinckley Talaria 48

The philosophy behind Hinckley’s new Talaria can be summed up in one simple equation.

Two + Two

There was a time when a man who loved performance cars and wanted something fast and nimble had one option: a two-seater. Sedans, be they two-door or four, were heavy, ponderous, and numbingly dull. But many enthusiasts longed for a vehicle that could carry more than a driver and passenger and still be exciting to drive. And so was born the 2 + 2, of which perhaps the most famous example is the 1968 Ferrari 365. What it gave up in size and agility it more than made up for in power and sophistication. And it remained true to the performance-car ideal.

Similar thinking inspired Hinckley’s Talaria 48, only instead of referring to the seating arrangement, the two plus two here represents two staterooms and two heads in a cruisable boat. And instead of a two-seater, its inspiration was the Picnic Boat, revered for performance and agility, but more for proportional perfection and sinuous lines. As you see, the 48 is true to her heritage. I was stopped a half-dozen times during my time with her by curious admirers.

Click to see more photos of the Talaria 48It wasn’t always thus with Hinckley. Beset by financial difficulties and inconsistent management, it wandered off course, a diversion exemplified by the propeller-driven SC-42 introduced in 2004, which was neither mechanical nor aesthetic kin to the Picnic Boat. There were plans for a line of prop boats and even sportfishing variants.  

The 48 proves Hinckley is firmly back on course, although the route there wasn’t exactly a rhumb line. The original concept, presented to a focus group in 2007, had tender stowage under the cockpit sole. (You can imagine what that did for the profile.) When feedback was negative, Hinckley scrapped the whole concept and started over, determined to adhere to the aesthetics that originally brought it success. The validation of that painful and expensive decision is the 48. 

Beyond pleasing proportions (less so in the flying-bridge version) and two cabins and two heads, there were other goals: a saloon flowing seamlessly into the cockpit; a big (8 feet long), more sociable cockpit, thanks to facing seats; and easy boarding from either side through gates artfully cut into the coamings. 

It’s all here. The curved saloon doors slide open wide enough to make saloon and cockpit feel like one. Two large frameless side windows slide open electrically to a width of more than four feet making the saloon feel airy. Four 31-inch by 31-inch electrically opening hatches double the effect. They are Hinckley’s response to the ubiquitous power sunroof, and while they can’t match its square footage of sky, they let in all the air you could want—and they don’t rattle or leak. 

Those curved doors leave room in either forward cockpit corner for a wet bar, freezer, sink, and refrigerator, so you won’t have to go inside when you want a drink or snack. Between the saloon and the cockpit, an 8-inch step provides proper 6-foot 3-inch interior headroom while maintaining the sleek profile. In the engine room, only 6 inches separate the Cummins QSM11s and the overhead, and things are tight, proving again that beauty has its price. (A fuel-polishing system is standard.) The cockpit deck raises electrically for easier engine access, but since the switch is forward, you’ll need to scramble around it to enter.

Two interior layouts are available. The one on my test boat featured a U-shape settee to starboard with a table that has a removable large top for dining; it stores in a padded compartment behind the helm seats. Two occasional chairs to port flank a cabinet containing a standard Bose V35 entertainment system. It has four independent zones, is iPod-friendly, and comes with an intuitive NuVo remote. The other layout has facing settees.

Twin pedestal Stidd chairs face the helm; a third is to port in front of a chart locker. A brace of standard Raymarine E120 Wides dominates here, but of course the star of this show is the latest iteration of Hinckley’s elegant JetStick. Sightlines are excellent. 

Four steps down, the port-side galley is notable for plenteous refrigeration, proof this is a cruising boat. A deep compartment in the counter can be either a freezer or refrigerator according to the thermostat setting, and two U-Line drawers forward add fridge capacity. The roomy two-berth stateroom with en suite/day head is to starboard. Order the optional washer and dryer in the master and you’ll lose its big enclosed shower. In the bow the large master has two 31-inch by 31-inch hatches and a private head with an enclosed shower. It’s an eminently comfortable interior for a couple and their friends or children. 

The exterior is couple-friendly too, thanks to an uncluttered foredeck, 9-inch-wide side decks, and a waist-high bowrail. A grabrail atop the house is a thoughtful touch but requires considerable contortions to reach as you move forward or aft; side or underside mounting would work better. A standard wireless remote for the JetStick allows you to stand anywhere and pirouette the 48 with precision.

So what about the performance component of that 2 + 2 equation? Michael Peters has reprised here his hull design for the Mark III Picnic Boat, introduced last year, which includes convex foresections, reworked lifting strakes, and additional aft deadrise (19 degrees). They combine to make the 48 the best handling Hinckley yet, though I haven’t run the new Picnic Boat. Tracking, a perennial problem with jets, is flawless and accomplished without fins, which aids efficiency. A turning radius of little more than a boat length at WOT means you can corkscrew the 48 to your heart’s content, a pastime you’ll be tempted to indulge in given the steering’s mere two turns lock to lock.

I’d venture that driving the 48 is every bit as rewarding as the Ferrari 365, and like that 2 + 2, you’ll pay for the privilege. The 48’s as-tested price is north of $2.2 million and not for the faint of heart. But when you consider what you get and the fact that  it’s wrapped in a package that makes dock walkers swoon, the numbers add up.

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Hinckley’s Latest Wrinkle

Joystick maneuverability’s all the rage today. And much of the buzz is pod-focused. But what folks forget is that Hinckley introduced its JetStick back in 1998, way before pods. Now Hinckley adds a new wrinkle—a JetStick remote. “When you get into this size,” says Hinckley’s Eric Champlin, “you need a crew of two, maybe even three, unless the skipper can both maneuver and help tie up.” Unlike devices with toggles for separate controls, Hinckley’s remote essentially puts a JetStick in the skipper’s hand. To nix RF interference concerns, the remote has military-spec encryption.
— Capt. Bill Pike

NOTEWORTHY OPTIONS:

Extended bow rail $7,860; cockpit bimini top $2,505; washer and dryer in lieu of guest shower $19,000; satellite TV $10,900; power adjustability for Stidds $6,700; gelcoat cockpit coamings in lieu of teak $3,885.

This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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