2019 Hinckley Picnic Boat 40
The Hinckley Picnic Boat 40—the largest model in the lineup to date—was certainly made to be seen. The flagship looks a lot like the other models in the series; that is, it’s a lobster-boat inspired craft with the tenor of a proper gentleman’s motoryacht. The 40 has that curved sheer and signature toerail, the brightwork warmed by coats of varnish, and the smooth hull surface that’s striking because it seems to take the paint just so. But as I’d learn, that patina didn’t happen by chance. It’s the result of construction techniques that are relatively forward-thinking—more so than you might imagine in a boat that appears to make everything look so easy.
“We want to keep things simple for the owner, so we designed this boat to be easy to handle and use,” said Scott Bryant, Hinckley’s vice president of product development.
Like the first Picnic Boat that debuted almost 25 years ago, the new 40 is powered by jet drives and Hinckley’s patented JetStick steering. Two decades ago, this propulsion was highly unusual on a mid-sized recreational boat. And yet it was a game-changer because it offered those who love the water a chance to explore the crannies of a coastline aboard a shoal-draft vessel that was highly maneuverable and efficient.
With a draft of just 2 feet, 2 inches, the 40 features the builder’s newest iteration of JetStick, the joystick-operated steering and control system. With military specification hardware, it’s more robust and offers greater precision and response.
The 40’s standard power is twin HamiltonJet 322s powered by 480-hp Cummins diesels. On open water, I took the wheel so I could experience the new Dynamic Steering system, designed to automatically adjust steering tension and sensitivity based on speed. If anything, it brings the boat driving experience closer to the one you have at the wheel of a car. It was fun to put the boat into hard turns at a decent clip. “People have the impression jets won’t corner,” said Bryant. And yet the Michael Peters-designed modified deep-V hull held its balance and control and behaved beautifully with nary a slip.
The hull combines an inner layer of carbon fiber with an outer layer of Kevlar (and healthy doses of Corecell foam core). Interestingly, the cloth is laid up dry in the mold, so fibers can be aligned in the right direction. “That enables us to get the perfect resin-to-glass ratio, to optimize weight and stiffness,” said Bryant. The structural grid is also laid up dry in the hull. Then, everything is vacuum-infused with epoxy. “We basically retooled the factory to build parts infusing epoxy instead of vinylester [used on previous Picnic Boats]. As a result, the boats are stronger and more durable.” The company is so confident in the structural integrity of this 40 that it guarantees the hull and deck for life.
The 40 is a day yacht at heart, but if the mood strikes for a night aboard, there’s a comfortable cabin with a convertible berth forward (at 86 inches wide at the top, it’s larger than a California king), a full galley and an exceptionally large head. And then there is the interior woodwork, which is beautifully finished, as you’d expect in a boat built by one of Maine’s premier yards. “The experience you’ll have on the 40 is still very Hinckley,” says Bryant. “We just arrived there a little differently on this boat.” —Jeanne Craig
Hinckley Yachts, 207-244-5531; hinckleyyachts.com
Displ.: 25,000 lbs.
Fuel: 375 gal.
Water: 80 gal.
Std. Power: 2/480-hp Cummins diesel w /HamiltonJet 322 drives
Top speed: 36 knots