When designers at Huckins Yacht penned a 36-footer back in 1936, they probably couldn’t even dream of it becoming the basis for what the builder is doing today. And yet here are those same lines reimagined more than 80 years later — with classic styling nods from the stanchions to the vents in the side windows — being offered in composite construction with the owner’s choice of hybrid or outboard power.
The first hull of the Huckins Sportsman 38 is scheduled to be under construction as you read this, with the yacht’s debut planned for the Newport International Boat Show in September. The Sportsman 38 will be the first model from the builder available with a hybrid propulsion package: twin 380 hp Cummins QSB 6.7s for a top-end above 35 knots, and a 20 hp Elco EP for cruising at 7 knots in silence. And while they were at it, the Huckins team figured that since the yacht is semicustom, they might as well go ahead and offer it with an optional pair of 350 hp Suzuki outboards too.
“The idea is to give the customer the power that they want, the speed that they want and the variations that they want,” says Huckins owner Cindy Purcell. “Outboards are very, very popular these days. Electric power is wonderful because it’s quiet, and with the batteries getting better and better, you can be out on the water longer without having to recharge. And of course, everybody still wants to go fast.”
Depending on the owner’s propulsion choice, Huckins will adjust fuel capacity to keep weight properly distributed for the Quadraconic hull. It’s not as big of a challenge as it may sound, Purcell says, for a company that’s been in business for as long as Huckins has been building boats.
“As long as your hull is balanced out properly fore and aft, then you can do this,” she says. “We’ve built boats on our hull bottom that are jet boats. We’ve built pod boats. In 1985, we built the first 50-foot outboard boat ever. We put four outboards on the back of a 50-footer. So, we know what we’re doing.”
In the 38, designers created a modern interior, including a galley whose overhead to the bridge deck is open to let in additional light. But for the exterior, they modeled the 38 substantially after the classic 36. The latter sold well in her day, Purcell says, and the Huckins team believes too many of today’s boats look the same.
“The idea was that, these days, there’s just a bunch of tennis shoes out there,” Purcell says. “There are a few Downeast boats, but they still look alike. This boat doesn’t look like any other boat that’s on the market. We felt that we needed something new to spike the yachting world.”
Huckins Sportsman 38
The construction may look like classic wood, but it is done in fiberglass with infusions of vinylester, Core-Cell M structural foam and E-glass. The inverter will reportedly be able to run the microwave, refrigerator and 110-volt outlets at anchor (read: no genset noise). No portlights are belowdecks. Huckins builds in windows, which are larger and let in more natural light. In the future, if hybrid and outboard power prove popular with customers, Huckins plans to offer more models with the options.