The Dasher Dances

Hinck­ley’s new elec­tric day­boat could re­de­fine the yacht­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Yachts International - - Contents - By Kenny Wooton

It’s prob­a­bly safe to say, with the in­tro­duc­tion of The Hinck­ley Com­pany’s in­no­va­tive, all-elec­tric Dasher model, that those days are a thing of the past. This 28-foot, 6-inch day­boat, which is mak­ing the rounds of the fall boat shows, could her­ald the next wave of small-boat de­sign.

Hinck­ley re­set the bar for smaller power­boats in 1994 with the re­lease of the now-iconic 36-foot Pic­nic Boat. That model not only brought Down East-in­spired styling and wa­ter-jet propul­sion to a mar­ket dom­i­nated by white fiber­glass and Euro­pean-in­flu­enced de­signs, but it also shifted Hinck­ley from be­ing pri­mar­ily a sail­boat builder to be­com­ing a player in the power­boat space, too. The builder has such high hopes that its new elec­tric boat will be just as gamechang­ing that it named the Dasher model after Hull No. 1 of the Pic­nic Boat, which was chris­tened Dasher.

“We’re in­no­va­tors,” says Scott Bryant, Hinck­ley’s di­rec­tor of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. “It’s im­por­tant for us to think about what the next tech­nol­ogy will be.”

The Dasher con­cept is about more than sim­ply ad­vanc­ing tech­nol­ogy for its own sake. The builder cre­ated it around what it calls “the Hinck­ley ex­pe­ri­ence”—that is, peo­ple con­nect­ing with friends and fam­ily dur­ing short out­ings on the wa­ter.

That con­nec­tion starts with the boat’s silent, elec­tric power, which en­ables easy con­ver­sa­tion. The con­nec­tion be­tween helms­man and guests is fur­ther en­hanced through an open lay­out and a cen­ter helm sta­tion with re­tractable wind­screen.

For propul­sion, Hinck­ley paired two 80-horse­power Torqeedo elec­tric mo­tors with dual BMW i3 lithium-ion bat­ter­ies. The Dasher has 40 miles of range at a cruis­ing speed of 10 mph. That range drops to 20 or 25 miles at fast cruis­ing speeds of 18 to 27 mph. The bat­ter­ies can be fully re­freshed in four hours with a pair of 50-amp charg­ing ca­bles.

Hinck­ley at­tributes the yacht’s sprightly per­for­mance to an ef­fi­cient, seakindly hull op­ti­mized for elec­tric power. Highly re­garded power­boat de­signer Michael Peters drew the shape and fo­cused on weight re­duc­tion.

The hull and other struc­tures are built of light­weight, in­fused car­bonepoxy com­pos­ite. Much of the hard­ware—chocks, toe rail caps, throt­tle han­dles, joy­stick—is 3-D-printed ti­ta­nium. The cock­pit sole is syn­thetic teak. Other wood-style flour­ishes are what Hinck­ley calls “ar­ti­sanal teak,” a car­bon com­pos­ite that is hand-painted to look like the real thing.

The re­sult is that the Dasher weighs 6,500 pounds. By com­par­i­son, the builder’s sim­i­lar-length Run­about 29 weighs in at 8,200.

An­other ex­pe­ri­ence-en­hanc­ing fea­ture on the Dasher is its touch­screen con­trol panel. All el­e­ments of en­gine and power mon­i­tor­ing, en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem con­trol and nav­i­ga­tion are dis­played in one dig­i­tal unit, in­clud­ing a pic­ture of the re­main­ing propul­sion charge, for those who may suf­fer range anx­i­ety.

“It should be as easy to op­er­ate as the com­put­ers we carry around in our pock­ets ev­ery day,” Bryant says.

Be­yond the Dasher’s tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tions, her aes­thet­ics are a long way re­moved from the Pic­nic Boat. Her lines are more akin to some of the de­sign-for­ward smaller boats that have be­gun to come on the mar­ket, or the cus­tom su­pery­acht limo ten­ders that have ap­peared in re­cent years. Bryant sees the Dasher’s light weight, re­tractable

elec­tric boat For many of us, the words evoke im­ages of diminu­tive, wooden launches with fes­tive can­vas canopies over their cock­pits and guests wear­ing boater hats, put­ter­ing around har­bors at walk­ing speeds.

wind­screen and elec­tric power as per­fect for the lat­ter ap­pli­ca­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Pete Sal­adino, Hinck­ley’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, some of the Dasher’s in­no­va­tions and tech­nol­ogy even­tu­ally will make their way into other boats in the Hinck­ley sta­ble. The Dasher’s price is ex­pected to be in line with other boats of sim­i­lar size such as the 29, “north of $500,000,” Sal­adino says. The first round of de­liv­er­ies should be avail­able next sum­mer.

There will al­ways be those who fancy the old-school elec­tric launches with their dowdy ap­point­ments and tim­o­rous tem­per­a­ments, or the roar of in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines, but for early adopters who love clas­sic styling, the Dasher feels a bit like to­mor­row to­day.

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