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When Hinckley built the first Picnic Boat two decades ago, it started a revolution.

A Talaria 34, one of Hinck;ey's newest modelsHinckley got its start building powerboats in the early 1930s but was better known as a company that made sailboats. What wasn’t widely known was that throughout the decades of building some of the best sailboats in the world, Hinckley was also building powerboats.

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The making of the picnic boat

Rachel was a 32-foot Hinckley cruiser (here in 1937) owned by Dr. Fred C. Holden.The seeds of the Picnic Boat were sown at the Atlantic Yacht Basin in Great Bridge, Virginia, in the 1950s. There, my father worked as an engine mechanic, and there, as a teenager, I roamed among the Huckins, Matthews and Ryboviches. Those covered sheds were cathedrals where I could worship the beauty and grace of these elegant craft. The seeds would take forty years to germinate.

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Trumpy 75

Illustration by Jim Ewing

He was a young naval architect back in 1910, joining the Mathis Yacht Building Co. in Camden, New Jersey, and intending to build yachts and tenders for America’s rich and famous. His first effort was a 70-foot “houseboat,” a graceful wooden cruiser with all the amenities of a home. The business plan certainly worked out.

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All-Weather Fun

The express sedan has arrived

Hinckley Talaria 43A new breed of express boat has emerged: the express sedan. Also known as express coupes, these cruisers deliver the speed of an express, the style of a sport yacht and the protection of a full deckhouse, which typically houses the saloon, galley and helm areas.

Essentially, the express cruiser and express coupe serve the same purpose: delivering the crew and guests to their destination in fast, comfortable fashion.

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Holding Course - The small-boat builders of Chesapeake Bay

Your destination is on the right, the automated voice confidently announces. It is my third circle in the rental car, and my destination is on the right only if I am planning to drive through a ditch, past a patch of vine-covered trees and across a cove. But I can see a fleet of masts above the treetops, so I power off the useless GPS and wing it.

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