The flame at Huckins Yacht Corporation burns eternally. This flame, lighted by Frank Pembroke Huckins about 70 years ago, burns for his Quadraconic hull (Design, February 2001). He called it the Fairform Flyer.
Huckins yachts of every size have ridden atop the Fairform Flyer, and the company has formed the bulk of its business during the past several years producing new versions of its older designs. The 53 Offshore is among the latest examples.
Although many of the styling themes that define the 53 Offshore come from the builder's past, this yacht is not a retro design. Instead, it takes advantage of the excellence inherent in the originals and enhances this with modern materials and systems. The 53 emerges with a character all her own. Huckins has artfully combined the businesslike appearance of a military patrol boat with the softness of a mermaid.
If we want the full effect of this yacht's powerful presence, we should take a ride in our tender and approach the Huckins from the bow. Her lightly cambered foredeck spreads over her bow sections like the deck of an aircraft carrier. The fine entry stretches up like the arms of an Olympian in a victory salute to engage the deck in one of the meanest flared bows in the business. We're sure to think we've encountered a World War II PT boat, and the effect becomes frighteningly dramatic when the yacht is speeding toward us. At speed, the 53 will lift her bow only enough to reveal the chines and a wedge of entry that's submerged when the boat's at rest. Whew.
Huckins 53 Offshore
Huckins may have surprised its fans with the stern treatment of the 53 Offshore. It surprised me, because I've always associated Huckins with the simple flat or slightly curved transom. Almost always too high, the transom has been the one tragic aesthetic flaw common to most of the company's original designs.
The 53 Offshore and its larger sisters in the Offshore series wear as feminine a transom as you'll find anywhere. It begins as a barrel stern at the waterline but gives way to practicality at deck level. The upright center section provides more area in the cockpit than would be possible had this been a purebred barrel stern.
We see the stern's theme echoed in the after end of the bridge deck. I love the look but think the hard edges of the house spoil the overall effect. If we remove the house and replace it with one that picks up the softer lines of the trunk cabin, the 53 Offshore could take her place among the greats.
Compromise, though, has the final word. Huckins no doubt had to draw an upright house to realize the headroom measurement needed in the master stateroom directly below and in the wheelhouse. In spite of this trade-off, Huckins has done a distinctive yacht that will delight her owner with exceptional performance and character.
Contact: Huckins Yacht Corp., (904) 389-1125; www.huckinsyacht.com.