John Hacker, a pioneering naval architect, established the Hacker Boat Co. in 1908 in Detroit and went on to design a small, fast wooden boat that is now known as the runabout. In 1918, he took a V-bottom boat, a typical style of the time, and tweaked it with midship engines and controls in front of that. The resulting runabout was faster, more efficient, and provided a smoother ride than other boats of its day, thanks to it V-bottom planing on the water rather than cutting its way through it.
The Hacker Boat Co. has gone through several iterations since then, and it now builds boats in Ticonderoga, N.Y. But the vessels are still made of mahogany and assembled by hand by master craftsmen who spend more than 1,000 hours on each one. Perhaps the most prolific builder of wooden boats in the world, the company currently makes runabouts, sportboats, combination runabout/sportboats called sportabouts, launches, utility boats, yacht tenders, and custom boats, with prices starting at $235,000. This year, the Hacker-Craft line added its first fiberglass model: the 27-foot Special Sport, which has the retro lines of the sportboats as well as a mahogany topside and interior. The starting price is $325,240. Hacker has showrooms in Silver Bay, N.Y., and Dania Beach, Fla., and also offers full restoration of any classic wooden boat.
Showboating: Visit Hacker-Craft at the Cannes Yachting Festival (September 8–13), the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (November 5–9), or the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show (December 3–6).