Hacker Craft Reborn

Hacker Craft Reborn
By Robert G. Speltz
Reprinted from Lakeland Boating April 1983

The “woody” in Jack Loney’s cover painting for this issue isn’t an antique. It’s a modern reproduction of a 30-foot Hacker Craft three-cockpit runabout. After nearly a half century, the Hacker Craft name is once more in production.

If you’re like me, the old Hacker Craft runabouts are among your favorite speedboats. Well, the “dean” of Hacker Craft restoration, Bill Morgan, is building a series of replica Hacker inboards which are being marketed by the Hacker Boat Company in Overland Park, KS.

The three models being produced are a 26 foot gentleman’s roadster, a 26 foot three-cockpit runabout and a 30 foot three-cockpit runabout. Looking at them, you will be hard put to tell they are different from ones built by the original Hacker Boat Company more than 30 years ago.

Bill Morgan has been restoring and rebuilding old Hackers for more than 30 years at his Morgan Marine Base in Silver Bay, NY. His shop is on scenic Lake George. Morgan began working on wooden boats long before restoring them became fashionable or popular.

As with other replica craft, some changes and improvements have been made. They are designed to blend the best of the old designs with modern technology. The result is a boat that will be a pleasure to own, operate and maintain.

Some of the improvements include using W.E.S.T. system epoxy to encase the triple planked bottoms and the frame joints in the keel, stem and stern. All hand picked Honduras mahogany is used for planking and sawn white oak goes into the frames. The new boats have 25 percent more frames and double the number of floor timbers of the original Hackers. Stainless steel fasteners are used throughout. The boats have improved, modern steering systems. Finally, 12 to 17 coats of varnish are applied to each hull and deck to give that authentic appearance of bright mahogany.

Approximately 15 boats will be built during 1983. Last January, a 30-footer was displayed at the Chicago Boat Show. It drew rave reviews. Reports are that two orders were written for new boats during the show.

To give you an idea of the value of these new Hackers, here are the prices that were effective during the Chicago show: 30-foot Three-Cockpit Runabout, $55,000; 26-foot Three-Cockpit Runabout, $49,975; 26-foot Gentleman’s Roadster, $49,675.

All three Hacker Craft replicas come well equipped. The list of standard equipment includes a Danforth anchor and line, electric horn, navigation lights, leather pleated upholstery, two fire extinguishers and bow and stern mahogany ensign poles.

Optional equipment available includes a sunning pad, glass side shields for the second cockpit, automatic bilge pump, swimming platform, hour meter, lifting rings, spotlights, custom storage cover, tonneau covers, rear cockpit wood hatch cover and stereo radio with tape player.
All of the boats will be built in Morgan’s Silver Bay shop. Sales operations for the new Hacker Boat Company will be handled by Mark Collor in the company’s Overland Park, KS, office.

The boats are built from designs by John L. Hacker, one of the premier powerboat naval architects of the early 20th century. He designed numerous boats including Gold Cup winning race boats. But, his classic runabouts captured the eye of the American public. The lines of these runabouts were timeless.

You can always spot a Hacker Craft by its long, sweeping bow, impeccable brightwork and the abundant use of chrome hardware. Considered the “Steinway of boats,” Hacker Crafts were the ultimate runabouts. Because of this, Hackers have been preserved and are now collector’s items.

We wish the best of luck to Bill Morgan, Mark Collor and the entire crew in their building, and sale of these “new” Hacker Craft speedboats. Everyone I have talked to in classic boat circles is thrilled to know such boats are being built again. I hope other models will be added to the Hacker line as business increases.

For more information, write:
Hacker Boat Company
7400 W. 101st St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
(913) 383-1899.
Lakeland Boating April 1983 Page 35