The Sunny K, a Fairform Flyer Linwood 53, rides majestically across the pages in this advertisement from the late 1950s. The “proud owner has reduced his running time to the fishing grounds by half,” the ad copy states, while still enjoying “accommodations seldom found on a sportfishing yacht.”
It’s a combination that has made Huckins Yacht Corp. one of America’s most enduring builders. When this ad came out, the Jacksonville, Florida, yard had been in business for more than a quarter-century. It still is.
The company founder was Frank Pembroke Huckins, born in 1886 to a Maine family whose lumber business delivered yellow pine to shipyards up and down the East Coast. Early on, he moved to Florida to sell timber in the burgeoning Sunshine State.
Huckins also started building boats, combining a background in engineering with an interest in design. He was a pioneer; in 1925, he designed, built and launched one of the first planing motorboats.
Three years later, he launched his first boat under the aegis of his newly formed Huckins Yacht Corp. The Fairform Flyer 42 Express Cruiser rode his planing “quadraconic” hull form. Described as “long, lean and easily driven,” the boat proved much faster than its contemporaries.
Huckins took the wheel of Hull No. 1 and drove it from Florida to New York, where it was sold. At the 1929 National Motor Boat Show in New York, Huckins took a half-dozen new orders for the Fairform Flyer.
The Huckins brand soon became known for high-quality yachts, each watched over by the founder during design and construction. Over the years, the builder offered a variety of models and an array of options, so no two boats were alike.
Now celebrating its 90th year, Huckins Yacht Corp. remains family owned, offering six
motoryacht, sportfishing and express designs. The founder’s granddaughter, Cindy Purcell, is carrying on his legacy.
This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue.