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Boat In A Box

Hinckley Yachts rescues a Savannah 54 from a forgotten factory floor.

Savannah 54Remember when you were a kid and you saved your allowance until you could go to the local hobby shop? You came home with a box marked Revell or Monogram, opened it, and then had to assemble all the itty-bitty parts?

Well, that’s exactly what one owner presented to the Hinckley service yard in Savannah, Georgia. But it wasn’t for a little toy-sized model.  

It was a 54-foot motoryacht.  

In pieces. Lots of them.

unpacking the parts made for a daunting sceneLocal builder, Savannah Yachts, had launched just before the economic crunch, built a few yachts, and closed its doors. At the end, several 54s remained in various states of completion, including hull number six.  

According to Dustin Hartley, general manager of the Hinckley yard, the hull and deck arrived along with truckloads of pieces: bulkheads, molded sections, and “just stuff.” The owner’s request: put it all together.

And they did, but it wasn’t as easy as a Revell model. First, says Hartley, they had to undo some of the hasty work done as Savannah Yachts neared the end. They removed the entire deck, realigned it, and reattached it. The restored helmThey removed bulkheads that weren’t square and straightened them, and went over the existing mechanical installations with a fine-tooth comb, fixing and improving as they went.

The project took 18 months, and involved everyone at the Hinckley yard from the electricians who installed and wired the electronics to the expert woodworkers who found that few supplied parts fitted properly, so they had to be duplicated. The entire yacht was then flawlessly painted in the Hinckley paint shed with Alexseal (www.alexseal.com). 

The helm undergoing restoration“I was really proud of our crew,” says Hartley, who says they talked to everyone they could find from the closed Savannah company to learn which pieces went where because the “kit” arrived with no instructions. “I have a great crew of specialists, but none had ever built an entire boat before. They came together as a team and built a yacht to Hinckley standards.”

Which brings us to hull number seven, which is presently at this Hinckley yard looking for an owner. It is a hull only, plus some stray parts, which offers a blank canvas for an owner to create a yacht to his desires, using the craftsmen at Hinckley.

Anyone out there miss those Revell days?   

Click here for Hinckley's contact information and index of articles ➤

Read our 2007 boat test of the Savannah 54 here ➤

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

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