Huckins Yacht Corporation
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Huckins Yacht Corporation is one of the oldest boat builders in the United States and is run by the third-generation owners Cindy and Buddy Purcell.
The company manufactures custom yachts ranging from 40 to 90 feet and has earned a reputation for combining classic style and workmanship with modern technology and amenities. Crafting vessels one at a time, Huckins has built a total of 457 yachts during its 80 years of service.
Huckins Yacht Corporation hosts an annual Rendezvous, which provides an opportunity for Huckins owners to gather together and share their boating experiences.
The company is located on the Ortega River in Jacksonville, Florida.
In 1928, Frank Pembroke Huckins formed Huckins Yacht Corporation.
The Fairform Flyer 42’ Express Cruiser was launched in July 1928, with its maiden voyage from Fernandina, Florida to New York City. It was sold in the fall to David M. Goodrich of the B.F. Goodrich Rubber Company for $15,000.
In 1943 the U.S. Navy commissioned Huckins Yacht Corporation to build two squadrons of PT boats, a total of 18 boats for service during World War II.
John F. Kennedy was involved in the Huckins PT program, delivering boats from Melville to Jacksonville and then to the break-in center in Miami.
In 1969, Huckins built the largest sportfishing yacht in the United States, measuring 80 feet.
In 1976, Huckins Yacht Corporation constructed the largest motor yacht in the United States, built with an Airex-cored fiberglass hull.
In 1986, Huckins built a specialty 78-foot Sport Cruising yacht, which included wide doors and an elevator, designed for an owner confined to a wheel chair.
Huckins Yacht’s oldest existing boat, the 1931 Offshore 48’ Avocette III, was honored in July 2008 by the Museum of Yachting.
Huckins Yacht Corporation built two squadrons of PT boats during World War II. A total of 18 78-foot (24 m) boats for squadrons 14 and 26 were commissioned in early 1943. They were assigned to specific outposts in the Panama Canal, Miami, Florida, the Hawaiian Sea Frontier at Pearl Harbor, in the Central Pacific, and a training center in Melville, Rhode Island.
In 1940, three governing bodies – the Bureau of Ships, the Bureau of Inspection and Survey, and the Internal Control Board – agreed that all PT boats developed were defective. Confident he had a solution, Frank Pembroke Huckins utilized Huckins iconic Quadraconic Hull to build a boat that met the Navy’s PT boat guidelines. The Quadraconic design was supported by 15 years of research proving it was fast and did not pound at any speed. After a series of performance tests by the Navy Trial Board known as the "Plywood Derby," the Huckins PT 69 was compared to those under construction by Elco, Higgins and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The Huckins PT 69 was met with great enthusiasm. The Elco and Huckins boats made the best showing with Huckins edging the Elco 77-footer in speed (41.5 versus 40.2 knots), turning circle (305 yards in diameter compared to 407 yards) and pounding factor (Elco pounded 61% more than Huckins).
Huckins won the design contract in 1941 just when the navy was ready to scrap the PT program. Huckins licensed the use of the Quadraconic Hull in PT boat construction. They also granted permission for Elco, Higgins and the Philadelphia Navy Yard to use their patented laminated keel, which increased hull strength.
The men who served on the Huckins boats had nothing but praise for them, especially those who also served on PT boats built by others. The Huckins platform was well designed to handle four torpedoes, two 50-caliber gun turrets and depth charges on the stern. They had relatively high freeboard, giving good headroom below. One could stand in the engine room giving engineers plenty of space to work. The quarters on the Huckins were significantly more comfortable than on the other boats, too. The Huckins PT captains and crews swore by them, and they were known in the navy as “the yachts.”
An in-depth look into wartime PT Boat design can be found in Lindsay Lords "Naval Architecture of Planing Hulls". CDR Lindsay Lord was stationed in Hawaii during the war, and recorded the Navy's planing hull research and findings. This is the single best source of information on PT Boat hull design and construction, and provides hull test data as well as detailed analysis and comparisons of the various PT Boat designs. A must read for Huckins advocates.
All original designs are available at Huckins Yacht Corporation. The complete history can be found in Huckins: The Living Legacy.
- Huckins Yacht Corporation
- WW II PT Boats, Bases, Tenders. PT Boats, Inc.
- Huck's New Boat. Time Magazine. December 1941
- 2006 Boat Test. Power and Motor Yacht. 2006
- Huckins Atlantic 44. "Yachting Magazine." October 2007
- 2008 Boat Test. Power and Motor Yacht. 2008
- Bucking the Trend: Linwood 56 Jet Drive. Yachting Magazine. March 2009
- Huckins Atlantic 44 Jet Drive. Yachting Magazine. August 2009
- Lindsay Lord, Naval Architecture of Planing Hulls (Cornell Maritime Press, 1946)
- Huckins: The Living Legend (Ortega River Books, Jacksonville, Florida 1998)