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Hinckley Goes Silent

The Maine builder partners with Twin Disc to create SilentJet, a diesel-electric hybrid that allows a Boat to operate silently at slow speeds

Imagine pulling away from the dock silently on electric power, quietly motoring out of the harbor, switching seamlessly to diesel power as you speed off to your next destination, then going back to electric as you pull into a quiet cove without the sound of an engine, dropping the hook and turning on the air conditioner without a generator running.

You can stop imagining. Hinckley just created it.

In a partnership with Twin Disc, a power transmission manufacturer, Hinckley recently announced the SilentJet technology that’s now offered exclusively on its Picnic Boat 40 S. SilentJet is seamless, so like hybrid cars, the boat switches from electric to diesel power and back without input from the operator.

“We know our clients want what’s next, and they also want common sense solutions,” says Geoff Berger, CEO of The Hinckley Company. “The electric Dasher turned heads as all our new models always do, but the practicality of going any distance on electric given the best current technology wasn’t ideal for our clients. You can travel farther with the hybrid diesel system than with Dasher’s electric platform. Furthermore, we learned that electric-powered water jets are much quieter and produce less vibration than traditional propellers. To deliver a truly silent cruising experience that feels almost like sailing, we knew our water-jet propulsion system was the best fit.”

Electric power allows the Hinckley Picnic 40 S to silently slowcruise and run amenities at anchor.

Electric power allows the Hinckley Picnic 40 S to silently slowcruise and run amenities at anchor.

Hinckley started work on a hybrid solution shortly after the 2017 launch of the electric Dasher. The builder collaborated with Twin Disc and integrated the Hinckley JetStick control system and automatic components to create SilentJet. “By collaborating with Hinckley, we advanced our development with a builder who embraces electric and hybrid technology,” said Mike Gee, vice president of hybrid engineering for Twin Disc.

SilentJet combines a pair of 90-kW electric motors with a single 80-kWh battery and twin 550-hp Cummins diesels. With SilentJet engaged, the Picnic Boat 40 S’s cruising speed is 7 knots. Range is at least an hour at that speed and up to 90 minutes at 5.5 knots. Using diesel power, depending on load, the Picnic Boat 40 S can cruise at 35 knots.

“With SilentJet, you glide away from the dock and cruise through the harbor in total silence,” says Scott Bryant, Hinckley’s vice president of sales and marketing. “When faster speeds are desired or the battery requires charging, the diesel engine comes on automatically, replenishing the battery in just 30 to 45 minutes. Since all the electrical loads on the Picnic Boat can be supported by the battery while at anchor, there’s no need for a noisy generator. It’s a complete paradigm shift in the Hinckley experience.” The first SilentJet Picnic Boats will be delivered in 2025.

Pim Van Hemmen

This article was originally published in the September 2022 issue.



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