Hinckley Goes Electric

America’s most exclusive yacht builder sails into the future…

The late American banker and billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller had an opinion on everything, and on the subject of yachts, he was a Hinckley man through and through. “As any sailor will tell you, most of the pleasure of sailing is in the quality of the boat,” Rockefeller once said, referring to his love of Hinckleys.

Maker of some of the most coveted boats in the world, Hinckley has been plying its trade on the coast of Maine since 1928. Although known for its stately crafts, which are a mainstay of traditional American sailing, the company recently announced the debut of Dasher, the first fully electric luxury yacht of its kind. For the 28.6-foot craft, priced at upwards of half a million American dollars, Hinckley developed a new material dubbed Artisanal Teak, which mimics the appearance of varnished wood, but is half the weight and needs much less maintenance.

Much like a limited-edition Ferrari, there is typically a waiting list to purchase a hand-built Hinckley yacht, but the company insists that Dasher will be on the water by midsummer. The Dasher features 3-D printed titanium hardware and console details as well as twin 80-horsepower, all-electric motors powered by BMW i3 batteries. Peter O’Connell, the Hinckley Company’s president and CEO, says the boat is part of the historic pursuit of new tools and technologies at the company, which pioneered the use of fiberglass and jet drives for pleasure craft.

“Two years ago, we pulled together participants from the America’s Cup, designers, and engineers into a meeting to discuss what the future of yachting looks like,” O’Connell says. The result was Dasher. “With our long heritage and tradition of innovation, our customers expect a Hinckley experience, a rich, simple experience that begins with buying a boat, then taking it out cruising for a couple of days.” The Dasher runs whisper-silent and can recharge at the dock in less than four hours. It also features a “social” console with touchscreen controls and a retractable windshield, which means the captain isn’t cut off from his guests.

“While it would work well as a superyacht tender, Dasher is mainly designed for the casual boater to use as an everyday runabout,” says O’Connell, who describes the Dasher as “the ultimate yacht for entertaining.” You don’t need to be a Rockefeller to appreciate that. ■


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Devon Windsor

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