Common Issues With Hinckley Yachts

Common Issues With Hinckley Yachts | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

August 30, 2022

Hinckley is a well-known yacht builder, but before you invest in one, you should know of the common issues with Hickley yachts.

While all boats, including Hinckley yachts need to be repaired from time to time, there are some problems that prevail in Hinckley yachts such as rusty metal fittings, battery charger repairs and so on that you need to be aware of.

Since a yacht is going to be a major investment, it pays to do your research and find out all there is to know about the vessel you’re investing in.

As owners of Hinckley yachts, here we are going to point out the most common issues that arise over time once you have a Hinckley yacht.


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Hinckley Yachts

Hinckley is a yacht that's famous mostly in the United States, the Netherlands, Canada and France. The yacht builder now has models ranging in size and length from 27 to 72 feet. Premier variants are equipped with engines that produce up to 2,500 horsepower, while lesser small models for sale may have engines that produce as little as 25 horsepower, so there’s a lot of variety when it comes to getting a Hinckley yacht.

The boat manufacturer designs and builds boat hull types that are commonly employed for traditional, time-honored activities like overnight sailing and day cruising. Hinckley offers inboard, inboard/outboard, and is known for its Cruisers, Jet, Yawl, Sloop, and Downeast models, which all feature an unusually deep draught and wide beam, making them ideal for overnight and day cruising.

Hinckley yachts are known for their cutting edge design that paves the way for the rest. For instance, why should you have to crawl over the gunwale of your boat to access the side boarding door from the cockpit? Well, Hinckley Yachts was the first to solve that problem.

The Hinckley Yachts Picnic Boat 40's starboard-side boarding door glides back and tucks under the gunwale with the touch of a key fob, offering a 2-foot-wide deck-level access. In case you were wondering, there’s also a teak step that folds out when the door closes, making the transfer from finger slip easier. But, while Hinckley has over the years improved their boat’s design, there are some common issues that will appear over time that you will have to deal with.

Common Issues in Hinckley Yachts

The following are some of the common issues that we have seen in our Hinckley yachts after spending days and weeks out sailing. While these issues are not that serious, ignoring them could result in having to deal with more serious issues in the long run, which is not going to be good for your yachting experience and your pockets.

Patching Leaks

This is one of those problems that seems to be inevitable when it comes to boats. Lower unit problems are frequent in outboards and stern drives, and they can be difficult to detect. The majority of the time, they occur as a result of a faulty seal or a hairline break in the casing allowing water to enter.

Running the boat and inspecting the bottom unit oil for a milky appearance is the only method to ensure that it is properly sealed. If the vendor agrees, loosen the drain screw a smidgeon and allow a little oil drip onto your fingertips so you can inspect it. Another option is to notify a seller just before signing the dotted line.

Watermarks may often be used to identify cabin leaks. However, this is not always the case, especially if the vendor has thoroughly cleaned the boat. Take a hose and spray it full-blast at any suspected leak places to examine if any hatches, ports, or seams are leaking. Then look underneath to see if there's any dampness that shouldn't be there.

Bilge Pumps

First and foremost, if you know water will come in, you must have a mechanism to get it out. The first line of protection against water in the inside is bilge pumps. There are a few items to check off your list depending on the style to guarantee a working bilge pump.

First, the bilge pump's electrical connections must be properly waterproofed, since improper waterproofing can cause the pump to fail as well as potential shorts throughout your electrical system. Second, make sure the pump activation system is operational.

This is sometimes a switch on the console that you must remember to turn on and off on a frequent basis to avoid draining the battery. Other times, the pump is controlled by a timer, and yet others are controlled by fussy float switches that turn on the pump when the water level reaches a specified level.

Third, bilge pumps are fantastic at removing water, but not so good at removing seaweed or other debris, so make sure the pump and hoses aren't blocked on a regular basis. Finally, a damaged impeller, or the little water wheel that drives the pumps, can substantially lower the pump's efficacy, so have all of the information about your bilge pump handy so you can pick out a replacement impeller.


In the long term, poor leak control causes the boat's core to get saturated. A once-snappy whaler may find it difficult to board a plane, while an elderly houseboat may find its decks much closer to the sea. It's tough to replace a saturated foam core, and it frequently needs expert maintenance. You can recover from saturation, but it's a lot simpler to avoid it in the first place.

Joint Separation

Boat owners often have to deal with hull to deck joint separation. The hull-to-deck junction is plainly essential, yet it's also evident that it's not visible throughout most or all of the boat. Whenever feasible, try to get a good look at it, especially if you notice any irregularities in the rubrail.

A twisted or bent rub rail usually indicates a point where the boat collided with something hard, such as a piling, causing the joint to be strained. It’s also a good idea to give the rub rail a thorough soaking with a hose, all the way around. Then examine for locations where water has gotten through, suggesting that the joint's seal has failed.


In reality, rot isn't nearly as frequent as it previously was, owing to the fact that most builders abandoned the use of untreated wood as a construction material many years ago. However, you may still notice it on occasion, especially when looking at older vessels. This is most typically seen in the transom or deck coring. Lots of huge fractures at the borders of the transom (a few little ones are nearly always present) indicate structural collapse. A bouncy feeling underfoot on the deck indicates that rot has set in.

Boat Electrical System

Few operations are more difficult than changing a boat's wiring, which frequently runs beneath decks, through narrow chases, along with cramped compartments. When inspecting a secondhand boat, switch on all of the electrical components one by one, from the electronics to lighting fixtures. Once that’s done switch all of them together.

While you’re at it examine the fuse as well. If you notice a variety of branded fuses that’s an indicator that the fuses were replaced or damaged after a problem was found. Take a look at the wiring, in general, to see if it's well-loomed and for any breaks. Or are you staring at a tangle of cables that will make troubleshooting future issues practically impossible?


If you buy a boat with a faulty engine, you're setting yourself up for a major tragedy. Pull the dip-stick out and inspect the oil to ensure it's in excellent shape and not milky (which indicates water in the oil). Check to see if the plugs aren't wrapped in carbon. Pay attention to how smooth it sounds when you're jogging. Arrive 15 minutes early for the sea trial so the vendor does not have time to warm it up. But, most essential, if you don't know anything about engines, bring a friend who does, or better yet, have your technician accompany you.

Foam and Foam Core

This is a problem that you can expect in both new and used yachts. If a boat's foam gets soaked, it needs major (and expensive) repairs. Simply looking at how the vessel is floating is one method to notice this problem.

If at all possible, request that all heavy equipment be taken off the boat and examine how the vessel is sitting on the water and whether or not the weight of the boat is evenly distributed? Is the waterline well over the scuppers? Is it level to the bow raised slightly? If you answered no to any of the questions, you should consider why. It's much better to take a moisture meter and inspect the boat's cored sections as well. With a mallet, tap gently on any suspected saturated sections of the boat, and you'll hear a distinct tone than in dry places.


A boat is a high-end car, and no one purchases one expecting a smooth ride. Something may be amiss with your prop if you notice increased vibrations when you accelerate your car. Damaged prop blades might cause your boat's flow to be disrupted as it cuts through the water. Check your prop for any small distortions or snagged items in the blades.

Common Issues With Hinckley Yachts
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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