During the post-World War II boating boom, Huckins yachts were special. They were elegant, with pug-nacious profiles and ang-ular, masculine styling. They were fast, wringing maximum speed from the relatively low horsepower engines available at the time. And they were comfortable: Sailors who'd broken their backs aboard Elco PTs during the war found the Huckins to be as smooth riding as a Barcalounger. Today, 77 years after Frank P. Huckins built his first Fairform Flyer, a Huckins is still something special.
Take a look at this new Linwood 56. From a distance, it's almost indistinguishable from the same boat built in the Eisenhower days, although instead of double-diagonal mahogany planking, its hull is built of stitched E-glass and vinylester resin over a closed-cell foam core. Below the waterline, the new Linwood rides on basically the same Quadraconic hull Frank Huckins first drew in 1928 (although it has been fine-tuned over the years). Unlike the deep- and modified-V hulls common today, in the Roaring Twenties most speedboats rode on low-deadrise bottoms that twisted to almost flat in the after sections; they were fast, but incredibly hard-riding. The Quadraconic hull is also nearly flat aft, but with a little more deadrise forward and concave sections along its full length to minimize pounding. Huckins created the bottom by developing, through complex mathematical formulas, four conical shapes, then marrying them to create his hull-hence, "Quadraconic. The design has proven over 77 years of hard use to be just as Huckins promised: fast, efficient, quick to plane and seaworthy at both planing and displacement speeds.
One of the keys to the original Huckins' superior performance was lightness of weight, and at just 48,000 lbs. the Linwood 56 maintains the tradition. (For comparison, a 54 Hatteras convertible weighs 74,000 lbs.; a 57 Bertram, 76,000.) A lighter weight requires less horsepower, and Huckins designers predict 30 knots with a pair of 660 hp diesels under the hood; typically, a yacht of this length demands twin 1,000 hp diesels, minimum. Smaller engines also burn less fuel. As designed, the Linwood 56 carries its engines way aft, under the cockpit, and spins the props through V-drives. But the first Linwood has twin 670 hp Cummins engines driving Hamilton waterjets. Thanks to the increased efficiency of waterjets and the lower drag of a shaft-, strut-, prop- and rudder-free bottom, the folks at Huckins expect the boat to run a little bit faster. This will be the first Huckins coming from the factory with waterjets, but not the first overall: A 1948 Huckins Offshore 64 was recently rebuilt and repowered with twin Detroit Diesels 8-92TAs and KaMeWa FF375 waterjets (original power was triple 6-71 Detroits); in its new incarnation, the boat makes 30 knots, while drawing less than 30 inches. Waterjets will make the Linwood 56 an ideal gunkholer as well as an efficient, economical offshore cruiser.
Huckins has drawn two "standard accommodations plans, but since each Linwood 56 is custom-built, there's room for change-just bring your checkbook. The first boat has the two-stateroom arrangement, with an enormous master aft, saloon and open galley midships, plus a second stateroom forward. Both staterooms have queen berths on the centerline, and en suite heads-two heads in the master, sharing a single shower. How would Frank Huckins, who kept his boats as Spartan as the market would allow, react to his-and-hers heads? Maybe he'd opt to convert one head into an office; it would make a perfect out-of-the-way place to carry on ship's business, write in the log, plan voyages on the computer or even surf the Net. (Maybe renew one's Yachting subscription online?) Unless the owner and mate are overly obsessed with private functions, this might make better use of space.