SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine (AP) – The Hinckley Co., the luxury yacht builder, is building a propeller-driven pleasure boat for the first time in more than 15 years.

Hinckley has a history of producing prop-driven boats dating back to the 1930s, but in the last decade or so it has focused on its cruising sailboat and the power-jet picnic boat lines.

Company President Sandy Spaulding said the new boat, which was launched Tuesday, fills a void in Hinckley’s lineup.

“We didn’t want to become marginalized as the jet boat company,”‘ Spaulding said. “And there is a market out there for a propeller boat. This is more of a blue water sport boat. Sport fishermen will like this boat, people who like to go off shore. We think that’s a big market.”

The 42-foot sports cruiser that has no fixed cabin is powered by twin 500-horsepower diesel engines that generate a top speed of 34 knots, the company said. The company plans to build between 18 and 24 of the “SC” series boats per year, he said. The base price for the boat is $700,000.

But the company isn’t abandoning its power-jet picnic boats. The company has sold about 500 of those jet-powered boats in different sizes during the 10 years that they have been in production.

The company has 320 employees in Maine. Nationwide, the company has about 600 employees.

AP-ES-07-29-04 0855EDT

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