I’ve often heard musicians describe how they can immediately recognize other great musicians in a song. Guitarists can pick out someone by tone, and drummers can tell by feel, for example. And I get how that works because some boat brands are distinguishable by their lines, whether you’re staring at them at the fuel dock or gazing upon them from a considerable distance. Hinckley is one of those brands—you see one and you instantly know. At first glance, the new Hinckley 35 falls right into this; with its beautiful teak trim, immaculate paint job and transom tumblehome, it matches the classic Downeast Picnic Boat motif for which Hinckley is famous. But then, what to do about the outboards?
That’s right. For its new 35, Hinckley eschewed its customary jet propulsion in favor of a pair of Mercury or Yamaha outboards on the transom. Even though it looks the same, in a way this changes everything. In fact, Hinckley prefers that you don’t even call it a Picnic Boat. The 35 has been designed by famed marine architect Michael Peters from the ground up to run with outboard power. It might look similar, but it’s a new class of Hinckley unto itself. To maximize the outboard power, Peters optimized the design of the chines and strakes to provide more lift for getting out of the hole, as well as more stability underway. The deadrise tapers to 19 degrees at the transom. On a sunny fall morning with calm seas, we put the Hinckley 35 through our battery of performance benchmarks, and the boat held up well, carving graceful, inboard-leaning turns with no propeller slippage as we cut the wheel at 30 mph. We hit a top speed of 47.4 mph at 6,000 rpm, a solid speed for a 35-foot dayboat. Though the seas were calm, we found some boat wakes to crisscross and simulate following, quartering and head seas, and we met each manufactured sea state with nary a shudder nor rattle. The standard Zipwake interceptor system automatically adjusts the boat to the optimal running attitude. Dial back to 4,000 rpm, and you can cruise at over 30 mph for over 400 statute miles (see our performance data). When you pull into the marina, the standard joystick system and bow thruster take away all the angst of docking and close-quarters handling.
Part of the new 35’s seakeeping can be attributed to the construction techniques used aboard all Hinckley boats. Every Hinckley hull is built via the resin-infusion process that incorporates carbon and epoxy, and cures in an 80-foot-long oven in Maine. It’s just a solidly built boat. The Clearview single-pane glass windshield gives this boat incredible visibility from the pilothouse, whether you’re manning the helm or keeping watch from the matching passenger’s chair. The hardtop extends over the U-shaped seating in the cockpit. A centerline walk-through leads to the open aft cockpit, with rear-facing love seats to each side and aligned along the transom to port. Access to the swim steps and outboard well is through a starboard transom door. One of my favorite features on the boat resides below the cockpit sole: a massive stowage locker that can swallow up gear, cruising provisions, and even bikes to use at the overnight marina. The electric hatch lifts on beefy gas-assisted struts at the push of a button for easy access to all your stuff.
Interior and Accessories
At the helm, a louvered wood door with a hatch to port of the wheel leads belowdecks to a well-appointed cabin, with a full galley to port, an enclosed head to starboard, and a forward V-berth.
The list of amenities aboard the Hinckley 35 is a long one and, what’s more, almost every item is standard. In fact, the only options offered on this boat are a power upgrade from 300 to 350 hp outboards, a Seakeeper 3 gyrostabilizer, and the full teak decks. (If I were signing the check, I’d likely opt for all three.)
Since it’s not really a Picnic Boat, I’ll avoid comparing the Hinckley 35 to the usual list of suspects in the New England lobster realm, with the exception of the MJM 35z (starting at $768,132 with twin Mercury 300s), another outboard-powered Downeast-style boat. I’d also suggest thinking outside the box and looking at the Chris-Craft Calypso 35 (starting at $644,633 with triple Mercury 300s), a center-console pilothouse design with an open bow. Neither is a perfect comparison.
Even though there are other boats out there that are worth a look, there is still no other boat that looks like this one on the water. To go back to the music analogy, the new Hinckley 35 is playing a tune all its own.
How We Tested
- Engines: Twin Mercury 350 Verados
- Drive/Props: Outboard/Revolution 4 14 1/2” x 19″ stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 150 gal. Water Load: 35 gal. Crew Weight: 350 lb.
- Clearview single-pane glass windshield provides excellent visibility.
- Outboard power affords an extra-large in-deck stowage compartment.
- Extensive list of standards includes joystick steering, a bow thruster, Zipwake interceptors, a genset, air conditioning and a full galley.
- It looks cleaner, but we sure wish the galley countertops were fiddled to prevent slide-offs underway.
- Steering wheel is not adjustable.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$1,150,000 (as tested)|
|Fuel Capacity:||300 gal.|
|Water Capacity:||35 gal.|
|Available Power:||Twin Yamaha or Mercury outboards up to 700 hp total|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Hinckley Yachts – Portsmouth, Rhode Island; 401-638-7100; hinckleyyachts.com