By now, the world was supposed to have met the Huckins Sportsman 38, an all-new, hybrid-power yacht inspired by the lines of the builder’s classic Sportsman 36 from the 1930s. The 38′s debut was scheduled for the Palm Beach International Boat Show this past March.
But then, the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country, shutting down pretty much everything, including that boat show. The team at Huckins had the boat launched and on track to be displayed, but now, the builder is planning the official debut for this fall, likely at the Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island.
“The boat looks just like the renderings,” says company owner Cindy Purcell. “She’s really pretty.”
Here’s the good news, according to Purcell: The sea trials went exactly as planned, with the hybrid propulsion system—twin 380 hp Cummins QSB 6.7 diesels and a 20 hp Elco EP—functioning the way the builder expected it to perform. The boat reportedly hit the projected speed numbers with no problems.
“We’ve run her on electric. We’ve run her on diesel,” Purcell says. “She’s 39 mph on diesel and about 8 mph on electric.” (And 350 hp Suzuki outboards remain an option.)
The rest of the build on Hull No. 1 has gone according to plan too, Purcell says, with no substantial changes to the previously announced layout and features. The Huckins Sportsman 38 has an airy cabin with 6-foot-6-inch headroom and a galley whose overhead opens to the bridge deck, to let in yet more natural light. The V-shaped settee forward (see the photo at right) converts to a queen-size berth for couples who want to overnight on the hook in favorite anchorages, and the head has a separate, full-size, enclosed shower. Modern conveniences—such as two power sunroofs inside, as well as a power sunshade and cockpit misters outside—combine with classic touches, including the stanchions aft with a look reminiscent of the 1930s design. Construction is all modern, with FRP/Corecell infusion, E-glass, vinylester resin and carbon fiber in the stringers.
The Huckins team is so eager to show off the boat, Purcell says she has no intention of making the public wait. The Huckins yard is in Jacksonville, Florida, on the Ortega River, which connects nearby to the St. Johns River. That’s where Hull No. 1 of the Sportsman 38 will be this summer, and Purcell hopes to see a parade of interested boaters heading her way.
“Anybody who would like to see the boat can come to the yard,” Purcell says. “We can do a sea trial.”
For owners, it just may be a meeting worth the wait.