As we were leaving Hinckley’s yard, in Stuart, Florida, picking out a nice piece of watery real estate to test Hull No. 1 of Dasher, Hinckley’s fully electric yacht, a center console tried to throw its weight around.
“I’m going to get us out of this slop,” said Director of New Product Development at Hinckley, Scott Bryant, who was sitting at the helm. Bryant punched it, and suddenly we were comfortably planing at about 17 knots, the wind playfully tousling our hair, the other boat’s wake already forgotten.
Borrowing her name from the game-changing, original Picnic Boat Hull No. 1, Dasher sports a carbon-epoxy composite hull shape designed by Michael Peters. From 3D-printed console details and a single touch screen control, no amount of technological sophistication has been spared. Dasher powers her 28 feet 6 inches with twin 80 horsepower Torqeedo motors and dual 40-kWh BMW i3 lithium ion batteries.
“We didn’t do an electric boat for the sake of an electric boat; we knew the experience was going to be supported really well by the technology,” said Bryant, “We have a really sophisticated product development strategy. As a technology company wrapped in beautiful boats, it’s something we’re always looking to do—we’re always thinking about the next thing.”
With a cruising speed around 8 knots (with fast cruising at 15-25 knots), her range is 40 miles when cruising and 20 to 25 miles at fast cruising speeds, making her an ideal day boat. (According to hinckley: Hull No. 2 will have an enhanced 40 kWh battery that will lend it an expanded range of 30 percent.) All of which is a conscious effort in the design of Dasher: This innovative technology—3-D printing, electric propulsion, a single touchscreen that controls everything—was developed so that people can disconnect and spend more time with family and friends out on the water. “Keeping it simple allows the platform to disappear into the experience,” said Bryant.
It was true. I hammered the throttle forward and we shot up around the boat’s max speed: 22 knots. To locate the range, a radius appeared in the form of a circle on the display from B&G, which would increase or decrease based on how much throttle you gave it. Corresponding symbols kept track of different things: an anchor for depth, a battery for the charge, a bucket for water levels (Dasher comes with a head forward). And by accepting dual 50-amp dock charging cables—that you have to snake in along the deck and underneath the helm seating (a slight inconvenience that Hinckley says they are working on improving)—Dasher can gain a full charge in under four hours.
All you had to do, really, was check the weather and maybe bring some sunscreen. The boat seemed to handle the rest.
Nearby, there were countless sandbars, pockets of islands, and canals filled with mangroves—all a day trip away—waiting to be explored. It was the end of the day, and we had already logged about 20 miles on board Dasher. We had even taken a peek at the treasure trove within: its battery’s prismatic cells running the length of the aft deck, easily accessible by hydraulically actuated risers that opened like a drawbridge. A good thing, too, I thought, because the docks will be clambering to get a look under that hood. —Simon Murray
DISPL.: 6,500 lb.
WATER: 15 gal.
POWER: 2/80-horsepower Torqeedo inboards
CRUISE SPEED: 15 knots
TOP SPEED: 22 knots