STYLISH EL­E­GANCE

Hinck­ley’s Pic­nic Boat 40 pack­ages trend­ing tech­nol­ogy into a yacht with age­less lines.

Yachting - - CONTENTS - BY PA­TRICK SCI­ACCA PHO­TOS BY CATE BROWN

From a key-fob-op­er­ated board­ing door to high-tech teak, Hinck­ley’s Pic­nic Boat 40 has time­less lines and a mod­ern build.

yacht’s gun­wale to open the side board­ing door from in­side the cock­pit? Hinck­ley Yachts asked that ques­tion. And then an­swered it. ¶ With the press of a key fob, the star­board-side board­ing door on the Hinck­ley Yachts Pic­nic Boat 40 slides back and tucks away un­der the gun­wale, cre­at­ing a 2-foot-wide deck-level en­trance. As the door dis­ap­pears, a teak step folds out, eas­ing the tran­si­tion from fin­ger slip to boat. The sys­tem works, has had hours’ worth of en­durance test­ing, and has zero im­pact on cock­pit real es­tate, which is not the case with most in­ward-open­ing board­ing doors. (The door also can be op­er­ated man­u­ally.) ¶ That 30-sec­ond dis­play of wow-cool tech­nol­ogy has about 600 hours of en­gi­neer­ing be­hind it, ac­cord­ing to Hinck­ley. And it’s just one of many such fea­tures on the builder’s new flag­ship Pic­nic Boat, which com­bines to­day’s lead­ing tech­nol­ogy with tra­di­tional Downeast styling. ¶ There are also the helm’s over­head hatches, which open with the push of a but­ton. No more tippy-toe stretch­ing to pop them up. And when they re­tract, the hatches au­to­mat­i­cally dog down. The helm win­dows to port and star­board also open elec­tri­cally for fresh air, whether for the skip­per on the dou­ble-wide Stidd helm seat or for guests on the com­pan­ion seat­ing across from it. ¶ For days when the heat gets to be too much, air con­di­tion­ing is stan­dard at the helm. To keep guests cool, an op­tional SureShade Bi­mini top ex­tends from the yacht’s hard­top to cover the ma­jor­ity of the cock­pit seat­ing. ¶ The builder says the cock­pit-seat­ing setup is de­signed to make guests feel sur­rounded in cruis­ing com­fort. The tran­som bench is set rel­a­tively low into the boat so guests feel like they are sit­ting in the boat, not on top of it. (To me, it of­fered the same feel­ing as a sunken-liv­ing-room sofa. From the teak cock­pit sole to the top of the seat cush­ions

WHY SHOULD AN OWNER HAVE TO CLIMB OVER HIS

is 16 inches.) A sec­ond bench across from the tran­som, fac­ing aft, is about 17 inches to the top of the seat cush­ions, again cre­at­ing that same feel­ing but with­out im­ped­ing the view. ¶ The yacht’s gad­getry, which also in­cludes a dy­namic-steer­ing sys­tem and a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion JetStick (see “Easy Rider” page 89), is im­pres­sive, and equal tech ad­vances are put into con­struc­tion. Michael Peters penned the PB40’s deep-V hull form with a 19-de­gree tran­som dead­rise. Sup­port­ing that form is Hinck­ley’s new in­fu­sion-build process. ¶ It starts with an outer layer of Kevlar, an in­ner layer of car­bon fiber, and a stringer grid all placed dry into the hull mold. The en­tire hull, grid and all, is epoxy-in­fused in one shot, elim­i­nat­ing sec­ondary bonds. The hull is then postcured in an 85-foot oven at Hinck­ley’s Ad­vanced Com­pos­ite Cen­ter in Maine. The re­sult­ing mono­coque struc­ture is rel­a­tively light­weight and tough. (The PB40 dis­places around 25,000 pounds.) Hinck­ley guar­an­tees its hulls and decks for life for the yacht’s orig­i­nal owner. ¶ I found out how tough that build is on a snotty Nar­ra­gansett Bay off Portsmouth, Rhode Is­land, ahead of sev­eral thun­der­storms. Steady 15-knot winds soon in­creased to 20 to 25 knots and whipped up a 3-foot short chop. Pow­ered with stan­dard 480 hp Cum­mins diesels (550 Cum­mins are op­tional) and run­ning into the teeth of the chop at a 27-knot cruise, the yacht chewed up the frothy white­caps and dis­patched them with mal­ice. And I ran the boat sans trim tabs be­cause it sim­ply didn’t need them. At 5 feet 7 inches tall, I had clean sight­lines in all direc­tions. The tabs do come in handy when ad­just­ing for load. ¶ Hinck­ley states that the PB40’s stan­dard-power cruise speed in good con­di­tions is 30 knots. Given that my test ves­sel eas­ily made 27 knots in less-than-ideal con­di­tions, I could see a 30-knot cruise on a nice day. Run­ning down-sea, the PB40 made a 37-knot top-end. Go­ing into the sea, it made 36.5 knots at wide-open throt­tle ¶ As much as I tried, I couldn’t get the hull to bang or slap, no mat­ter how hard-over I turned at speed or how fast I pushed it into the sea. Its per­for­mance is a solid state­ment about how well-pack­aged its hull de­sign, con­struc­tion, power plants and jet-propul­sion sys­tem are. The yacht turns like a pro­fes­sional hockey player, deck­ing op­po­nents left and right. It’s a true joy to drive. I didn’t want to give up the wheel. ¶ One of the most in­trigu­ing as­pects of the PB40 is that it re­tains the same time­less Downeast lines as the first Hinck­ley Pic­nic Boat that launched 24 years ago. And 1,100 jet boats later, the look re­mains as fresh as it did then. But in this case, un­der­neath those clas­sic lines is 21st-cen­tury tech­nol­ogy that’s ev­i­dent from the very first step aboard.

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