We kicked back in the pair of aft-facing lounges, feet up on their electrically actuated footrests with others relaxing on the forward-facing settee. Flip-flops were strewn about the nonskid deck among various sporting equipment including a surfboard, foiling kiteboard, wakeboard and makeshift tow rope. There was enough sand in the cockpit for our own beach.
After a day of water sports and cruising, it was a short ride back to our Vineyard Haven mooring. But our workhorse for the day—the Hinckley Sport Boat 40x—was miles away from the bespoke, teak-clad vessels of her parent company.
According to Chief Marketing Officer Pete Saladino, “meaningful improvements in horsepower and reliability” in the outboard market—and the double-digit growth in the 300-hp and up seg-ment—led Hinckley to a two-year exploration on how to take advantage, smartly tapping Ray Hunt Design for the builder’s first hull specifically designed for outboard propulsion since the baby-boomer Kingfisher 15 of the 1950s.
The 40x reserves Hinckley’s meticulous approach that will separate it from a crowded field of 40-something-foot, multiple outboard vessels, evidenced in the choice of finishes: I particularly liked the glossy teak that framed the companionway, but also the choice of durable Corian for the galley and maintenance-free, faux teak in all the right places. It struck a nice balance.
When it came to my turn at the helm, I sat at the optional ($6,880) Stidd wide companion seat and ran the 40x throughout the rpm range, banking turns with confidence. She seemed to really hum along in a spirited groove at a steady 32 knots and 4200 rpm, good for a 246 nm range. A fast cruise of 39.3 knots and 5000 rpm equals less than a 20 nm loss in range. This was a well-balanced, all-day cruiser.
Her optional triple Yamaha XTOs (engine packages are available in triple configurations from 350- to 400-hp from Merc’s Verado and Racing platforms with a trio of Verado 300s as standard), propelled her on calm seas to an average top sprint of 46.6 knots with 10 people on board, a few hundred pounds of equipment and full water and fuel. For those with a greater need for speed, twin 627-hp Seven Marines are available—the Sevens should push the 40x to a top end around 55 knots.
The 40x takes design cues out of the Hinckley playbook that will separate it from the pack—the teak-and-holly soles and teak bulkheads belowdecks glow as brilliant as a Picnic Boat’s stunning interiors. Optional faux soles for the pilothouse and cockpit and artisanal teak toerails can complete the custom look.
One can also choose to surprise the tassel-loafer crowd and swap out the cockpit grill and storage for a livewell and bait prep area, pilothouse rod storage and additional rod holders in the transom. The fact that it’s available on a Hinckley shows how far the Sport Boats deviate from the builder’s prior offerings.
She’s more wash-and-wear than her predecessors and as a semicustom boat, the 40x deftly straddles the line between bespoke and ready for action. Her best asset is that she can be as polished or unfussy as you please. It’s as if the builder urges you to cram the wine cooler with Domaine Tempier rosé, but save plenty of room for IPA. —Jeff Moser
Displ.: 20,000 lbs.
Fuel: 450 gal.
Water: 82 gal.
Standard Power: 3/300-hp Mercury Verado outboards
Cruise Speed: 32 knots
Top Speed: 46 knots
Standard Horsepower: 900