Built for Lobstering and Vacationers
More than 90 years ago, the Hinckley Company began in the boating business to service vessels plying the waters off the rugged coast of Maine. It was 1928 when Benjamin B. Hinckley bought the Manset Boatyard in Southwest Harbor. They aimed for lobster fishermen most of the year, then chartered the boats to vacationers during the summer months.
Four years later, his son, Henry R. Hinckley took over the business and set to work using his engineering degree (with studies in aeronautical and mechanical engineering) from Cornell University. The younger Hinckley built his first motorboat in 1933, a 36-foot fishing vessel named Ruthyeolyn.
That was just the beginning of the company’s attention to detail and durability. Construction of the first Hinckley sailing sloop came five years later: the 28-foot Sparkman & Stephens design was the first of 20, and was the company’s first production-line boat. In 1945, Hinckley built the first Sou’wester sailboat which grew to a fleet of 62, the largest single-design boat of that era.
The Hinckley Yacht Company has been an innovator on many fronts. To procure the highest quality fixtures such as fuel tanks, stanchions, chocks, pulpits, deck plates, and masts, the company started to build and design their own products as Manset Marine Supply Company in 1940. And during World War II, Hinckley helped meet the needs of the United States military by building vessels designed for war.
Ever-growing, the 1950s saw Hinckley build hulls with fiberglass, a new idea at the time, and the first was their Bermuda 40 sailing ship in 1959. Innovations continued with auto-pilot systems and electric furling mainsails onboard their boats starting in the 1960s. Many in the industry felt that the company took a chance as it left wood construction behind in favor of new products. The Osprey was the last Hinckley wooden boat and was built in 1960.
Experimentation to build lighter and stronger vessels with fiberglass continued and now the company uses other composites including carbon fiber. As early adopters of the Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process (SCRIMP), Hinckley boats have a single chemical bond between the hull and the support structure. Starting in 2018, the builder employed an environmentally safer process with an epoxy-resin infusion and vacuum-infused process which increases strength up to 40%. Hinckley claims to be the only boat builder to use carbon fiber and Kevlar composite for all of the company’s designs.
Hinckley yachts use water-jet propulsion for precise handling with a joystick to efficiently change direction for continuous maneuverability. This also offers safe navigation in shallow or unfamiliar waters because of the lack of hardware below the waterline. With no propellers, pods, and rudders, drag is reduced for even more efficiency in speed and fuel consumption. These propulsion systems also include Heading Hold, Dynamic Steering, Geostationary Lock (G-Lock), and Parker Intellinders.
A remote monitoring system called OnWatch was launched in 2016 to track data points onboard with sensors on the boat. These are relayed to a mobile Web site with engine status, bilge, battery, fuel-tank levels, shore power connectivity, and more.
All Hinckley boats, ranging in size from 29 to 55 feet, are still built in the Hinckley shop in Maine.
Hinckley Yacht Company Ownership Through The Years
After nearly 50 years under the command of Hinckley, Richard Tucker bought the business in 1979. It didn’t last long as the recession in the 1980s led Tucker to sell the company three years later to Henry Hinckley’s son, Bob, who bought the company with business partner Shepard McKenney.
Eventually, the Bain, Willard Companies bought the business in 1997 for approximately $20 million. The most recent ownership change came in 2001 when 51% of the Hinckley Company was sold to Monitor Clipper Partners for $40 million in debt and equity. The Hinckley Company acquired Hunt Yachts in 2014 and Morris Yachts in 2015.
After the sale, Hinckley continues to service their brand with 10 YachtCare Centers along the U.S. east coast. The company’s continued care program features a mobile service team and YachtCare Classic program for its early model yachts. Hinckley has also added more than 100,000 square feet of climate-controlled indoor storage in these centers from Maine to Florida, including 40,000 square feet of Category 5 storm-rated storage.
After more than 57 years, Lewis Marine Supply acquired Manset Marine Supply Company in 2003.
Here are some of the classic Hinckley models: