Boating: Stick and Move

As the talaria t29 c picks up speed, Hinckley Yachts Sales Director Chris Fairfax leans over from behind the wheel so that he can be heard. “Look behind you,” he says. Off the stern is a sparkling vista of glass, metal, and reflections, the buildings of downtown Boston framed against the blue and white of the afternoon sky. The skyline shrinks in the distance as Fairfax guides the Hinckley across Boston Harbor at its cruising speed of 34 mph.

But that’s not the view Fairfax wants me to see. He’s referring to the scene directly off the stern, where the boat is cutting a sweeping sickle of white foam into the water. The 29-footer, like the other vessels in Hinckley’s jetboat line, features a bow thruster that propels water behind the boat, eliminating the need for a propeller and creating a draft of only 18 inches. Not only does the absence of a propeller allow T29 C owners to navigate shallow lakes and rivers, but the bow thruster eases the boat over waves instead of through them. “That’s a beautiful sight,” says Fairfax. “The hull and the bow thruster give her such a smooth ride.”

Although we’re cruising in deep seaport waters, the T29 C, with its slender profile and shallow draft, was designed for navigating lakes and rivers. Hinckley also builds the 36-foot Picnic Boat, the Talaria 40, and the Talaria 44, three jetboat models that are more suited for day cruising on open water than the 29-foot center-console vessel. The T29 C will soon have a sister boat, the T29 R, a new retro-styled 29-footer that, with its varnished teak and classic lines, appears to be straight out of the 1950s.

The T29 R may look like an antique, but the runabout features the JetStick, a cutting-edge mechanism that looks as though it belongs in a video arcade rather than on a boat. As Fairfax demonstrates, the small joystick, which is located on the console of all Hinckley powerboats, can make docking a breeze. By turning the joystick, Fairfax controls the direction of the bow thruster, and thus the movement of the boat. Spin the JetStick, and the T29 C twirls on its own axis. Using a few simple twists and thrusts, you can dock the boat with one hand.

The JetStick is not necessarily just for docking. At cruising speed in open water, it can be used instead of the steering wheel. At 40 mph, however, I prefer the tradi-tional tool of navigation. With my hands on the steering wheel, we cut swaths into the harbor, skirting a cruise ship as we approach a Logan Airport runway that juts into the harbor. The T29 C feels stiff and sure, and the Bimini top shields us from the water that sprays onto the deck.

We cruise back toward shore, where Fairfax takes the JetStick and smartly backs the boat into the slip at the Boston Harbor Hotel’s dock. If only parallel parking my car in downtown Boston that afternoon could have been so simple.

Hinckley Yachts, 207.244.5531, www.hinckleyyachts.com

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