When Hinckley built the first Picnic Boat two decades ago, it started a revolution.Hinckley 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.
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.
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.
The express sedan has arrived
A 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.
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.
Page 2 of 30