Power & Motor Yacht - - CONTENTS - Daniel Hard­ing Jr. dhard­ing@aim­me­dia.com

Look­ing back on in­no­va­tions that helped shape the in­dus­try.

Bill Clin­ton was pres­i­dent, gas was $1.09 a gal­lon, and The Lion King ruled the box of­fice. The year was 1994, and Hinck­ley had just launched the in­no­va­tive new 36foot pic­nic boat named Dasher. For years I’ve read about Dasher in marine mag­a­zines. It seems ev­ery cou­ple years I come across a piece that talks about its use of jet drives, a tech­nol­ogy that, when it de­buted, was only found aboard smaller per­for­mance boats. I’d read about how Hinck­ley used Kevlar in the hull and a revo­lu­tion­ary new SCRIMP process to in­fuse its hulls. Time and again mag­a­zine writ­ers would tip their hat to the JetStick, the first joy­stick of its kind. These break­throughs, driven by then com­pany CEO Shep McKen­ney, helped launch the brand into un­prece­dented pop­u­lar­ity. It was that same drive for in­no­va­tion that drove McKen­ney to cre­ate a sys­tem you may have heard of: the Sea­keeper.

I’ve al­ways wanted to test a boat like the 36 pic­nic boat, a game changer that would be talked about for years. I guess it’s like the nerdy boat­ing jour­nal­ist equiv­a­lent of play­ing in the World Se­ries.

When I saw the Dasher 2.0 de­but at the New­port boat show this past fall, I thought I may just get the chance. A triple-threat of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment de­signed by Michael Peters, it fea­tures a car­bon-fiber hull, 3D printed hard­ware, and fully elec­tric propul­sion courtesy of twin 80-horse­power Torqeedo en­gines.

Push­ing off the dock at Hinck­ley’s yard in Stu­art along with Man­ag­ing Ed­i­tor Si­mon Mur­ray and Cre­ative Di­rec­tor Erin Ken- ney, the first thing we no­ticed, or rather didn’t no­tice, was noise. This boat is quiet as a church mouse. There was no whine, no pitch—noth­ing. Just the sound of wa­ter flow­ing along the hull.

From there we en­joyed what can only be de­scribed as a per­fect day out on the wa­ter. Si­mon dives into the de­tails about our time on the boat and the tech­nol­ogy be­hind the new Dasher in See­ing Is Be­liev­ing on page 46.

Hinck­ley isn’t the only builder push­ing our in­dus­try for­ward. The Adler Suprema in­cor­po­rates a hy­brid diesel/elec­tric propul­sion sys­tem that seam­lessly shifts power sources de­pend­ing on your need. Euro­pean Ed­i­tor Alan Harper put that boat through its paces on the Bay of Cannes and re­ports back in Sound of Si­lence on page 70.

We delve fur­ther into the fu­ture of 3D print­ing in Jeff Moser’s Power & Tech­nol­ogy col­umn this month on page 24.

Even MJM, builder of Down East yachts, is look­ing to the fu­ture with its new out­board-pow­ered 35z (see The Game Changer on page 52), com­plete with Mer­cury’s joy­stick pi­lot­ing sys­tem, in the hopes of at­tract­ing younger buy­ers.

As we get ready to put this is­sue to press, I’ve been think­ing about those older sto­ries about the first pic­nic boat, and the head winds it must have faced.

“We didn’t know if it was go­ing to be suc­cess­ful,” Scott Bryant, Hinck­ley’s di­rec­tor of new prod­uct plan­ning, ad­mits of the orig­i­nal pic­nic boat. “It was a gam­ble.”

He eas­ily could have been talk­ing about the elec­tric ver­sion rest­ing across the dock from where we were stand­ing.

I don’t know if the elec­tric-pow­ered Dasher will be­come as widely ac­cepted as its name­sake was. I don’t know if fu­ture marine jour­nal­ists will re­fer to it with the same rev­er­ence that the orig­i­nal re­ceives. I don’t know if peo­ple will dig through the ar­chives of Power & Mo­to­ry­acht to see how we cov­ered such a rad­i­cal boat. I will. I’ll look back on our cov­er­age and know if it re­ally was a spark that ig­nited a trend or if it fiz­zled out; a cool boat that was just ahead of its time, per­haps.

Ei­ther way, Dasher was my first shot at test­ing a truly in­no­va­tive boat. Look­ing around the in­dus­try and the rapid rate in which boat­build­ing and on­board fea­tures are evolv­ing, I have a feel­ing it won’t be my last.

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