Picnic Boat 40
The summer debut of the new Hinckley Picnic Boat 40 comes almost 25 years after the first Picnic Boat took the luxury power cruiser market by storm, as it gracefully combined classic New England looks and craftsmanship with jet-drive propulsion and JetStick steering, both innovative additions at the time. The boat offered those who love the water a new way to have big adventures on a mid-sized craft, simply by way of exploring the crannies of a coastline aboard a shoal-draft vessel.
The new 40 can do all of the things that first Picnic Boat could, only it’s been designed to make cruising even more enjoyable and refined. That’s what I discovered on a sea trial in Narragansett Bay with Scott Bryant, Hinckley’s VP of product development and engineering, and Peter Saladino, chief marketing officer. With an LOA of 42 feet and a 12-foot 10-inch beam, the 40 offers more entertaining space than any other Picnic Boat to date, and it’s equipped with features that should make the passenger experience better than ever. There’s a remote-controlled hullside door that slides into the gunwale so that cockpit space isn’t sacrificed, an extended swim platform, a retractable sun shade in the cockpit, two sizable and thoughtfully designed social spaces on deck and a third in the cabin, where a convertible berth makes it possible to spend the night.
The new 40 also showcases a lot of smart technology, including Hinckley’s OnWatch vessel monitoring system and CZone, which replaces fuse panels with networked digital switch interfaces that control electrical systems—push one button and everything you need comes on. At the helm, Dynamic Steering automatically adjusts the steering tension and lock-to-lock range as the operator changes speed, helping to bring the boat driving experience closer to the one you have at the wheel of a car. There’s also the latest iteration of JetStick, the company’s joystick-operated steering and control system that integrates thruster and jet drive; it’s now more precise and robust than ever.
“We want the ownership experience to be simple and enjoyable,” said Bryant, as he calmly maneuvered the gleaming new 40 with its pretty blue hull (Awlgrip’s Petrol Blue finish) through a marina packed with expensive racing sailboats and custom yachts, a process that could make even a seasoned skipper feel a bit tense. “Systems like JetStick serve to make the boat easier to handle and use,” he said, while directing the boat with just three fingers gently manipulating the stick.
This 40 was equipped with the standard propulsion package: twin Hamilton 322 jet drives powered by a pair of 480-hp Cummins diesels, all pushing a Michael Peters hull design. While the company reports the boat will cruise at 30 knots and top out near 34 knots with this package, our sea trial revealed a few nice surprises, including a top end closer to 36 knots. What’s the secret to the sporty performance? A big part of it is in the boat’s construction, which is more advanced than that of any previous Picnic Boat, thanks to the careful use of Kevlar, carbon fiber and epoxy resin. Construction materials and techniques—which enabled the builder to significantly reduce weight without sacrificing the creature comforts you’d expect on a boat with Hinckley’s pedigree—are a big part of the 40’s story. To learn more, see our feature on the Hinckley Picnic Boat 40 in the September issue of Power & Motoryacht.