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Old 06-23-2014, 02:09 PM   #1
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36 Little Harbor Whisper Jet

Looking at purchasing a whisper jet and I'm trying to get a feel for the pro's anc cons of the Hamilton jet drive system. The model Im looking at is a little older and doens't have the Jet stick control system or a bow thruster which may or maynot be a big deal.
I appreciate anyone's feedback who may have more in depth knowledge on this subject. In my part of the country they just don't have many of these type boats.

Thanks
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:45 PM   #2
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Talk to people with Hinkleys not on this forum can't be many trawlers with jet drive here.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:07 PM   #3
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They are used in New Zealand on boats scaring paying customers with amazing high speed turns and spins on shallow rivers. Maybe direct some searches towards NZ users, like the Shotover River operators.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:25 PM   #4
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Jet drives? I doubt it except for a few with jet skis. Do we even have any pod drive boaters?
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:48 PM   #5
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Not familiar with that boat but a fan of jets.

Our tenders have jet drives and we love them. We use to love jet drive boats and even considered getting one. At one time thought of the Hinckley Picnic and at another time thought of something from AB Yachts. Now of course we think of liking a different boat we see almost daily.

The positives we see are high speed handling, safety of no props, and low draft. For instance a Hinckley Picnic has a draft of 2'1".

The negatives are: They are a less efficient means of propelling a boat. Takes more horsepower to obtain the same speed generally although those specializing in jets seem to do a pretty good job of reducing that inefficiency. Low speed handling is a negative to some, especially those new to them. The reason is that you must apply more power to have any effect.

Some will make comments about getting moss or stuff in the intake and having to dive to clean it out. I'd say that when that happens if they had props they would have had more serious damage. Plus, just because they can go to shallow waters doesn't mean to overdo it in mossy areas. We've never had an intake stopped up.

There is also a big difference between jets designed for boats versus those originating in jet skis. Yanmar Engines and Hamilton Jets are a proven combination. And that appears to be the combination on Whisper Jets.

So, we love jets but they are definitely not for everyone. And we'd recommend them only on boats where the builder's specialty was jets.

One caution. Jet operators tend to be more the run wide open types. So a used jet might tend to have an engine that had been more abused than a prop boat with the same hours. Now this isn't universal, but most people just don't get jets to run slow.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:59 PM   #6
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All very good posts, thanks so much.

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Old 06-24-2014, 08:13 PM   #7
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...Jet operators tend to be more the run wide open types. So a used jet might tend to have an engine that had been more abused than a prop boat with the same hours. Now this isn't universal, but most people just don't get jets to run slow.
And not just the engine. On Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, NZ I saw a jet boat driven straight out of the water onto the trailer.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:30 PM   #8
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And not just the engine. On Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, NZ I saw a jet boat driven straight out of the water onto the trailer.
Thats pretty standard. But then lots of boats are driven onto the trailers like that now.

I once saw the aftermath of a jet boat driven into a boat that was beached, went over a second boat and landed on a third. Like something from Bond. No one hurt luckily. Three boats destroyed, one not harmed.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:59 PM   #9
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Little Harbors are beautiful boats. I've stepped aboard a couple of the power boats, I think including one of these, and been out sailing on a friends gorgeous 58 footer. About all I can tell you about jet drives is that the Hamiltons seem to be the weapon of choice. A guy in our marine refitted a 60 foot-ish Huckens with them. It would blow people's minds when you saw that thing in a channel usually only occupied by smaller outboard boats.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:53 AM   #10
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We did see a Hinkley at Highborne Cay in May that came from Palm Beach. Would have loved to ask them about their fuel consumption!
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:16 AM   #11
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We did see a Hinkley at Highborne Cay in May that came from Palm Beach. Would have loved to ask them about their fuel consumption!
Well, here's some fuel information for a Hinckley T34 with twin 260 hp. 6 knots 2.4 gph, 8 knots 5 gph, 10 knots 8 gph, 16 knots 14 gph, 26 knots, 22 gph, 31 knots 25 gph, 33 knots 28 gph. Those are test numbers from Power and Motoryacht. I'd say very good.

Not also a Hinckley Talaria 48 ft with twin 715 hp. 7 knots 5.4 gph, 13 knots 22 gph, 21 knots 32 gph, 28 knots 49 gph, 36 knots 74 gph. Still not bad for the size, power and speed.
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:11 PM   #12
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I'm curious how you made regarding the Whisperjet? I own a 34' model and would love to hear how you made out.

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Old 09-14-2014, 12:56 PM   #13
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I'm kinda curious too - a boat like that might be our next / last boat. I had a Nautica tender like the one I have now but with a jet, and it was a noisy ill-handling nightmare that needed 2000rpms just to get moving. But I've seen some gorgeous larger jets that have languished and sell at a huge discount, like a 40' Rivolta that was minty and went for under $200k a couple of years ago.
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:25 PM   #14
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Hamilton jets have been in existence since the 70s and are very reliable, perfect in low water areas down to about 6"

The jet drive units on the tour boats have proved their worth however the Shotover jets and the other tour vessels are running different systems as they carry 12 to 20 passengers.

I have used a jetboat in SAR work and body recovery ops in the past where no other boat would have worked due to the fast flowing shallow rivers in Colorado.

Yahoo the NZ Hamilton jet boat website, they also have a North American subsidiary.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:06 PM   #15
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I had a Nautica tender like the one I have now but with a jet, and it was a noisy ill-handling nightmare that needed 2000rpms just to get moving. But I've seen some gorgeous larger jets that have languished and sell at a huge discount, like a 40' Rivolta that was minty and went for under $200k a couple of years ago.
Jet resell is often poor as there are far more detractors than supporters. Of course some of the jet builders aren't exactly the most popular boat brands. As to your Nautica, I don't know about it but many of the older jet tenders were 2 cycle and many others even today have engines more comparable to jet skis than other boats. Our gas jet is Weber engine with Hamilton drive and our diesel jet is Yanmar with Hamilton. Hinckley has been doing jets very successfully for decades.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:07 AM   #16
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My experience is that there is a lot of misinformation about jets, and that it is usually spread by those who have had very little real experience with them.
The boats originally in question here were the Whisperjet line built by Ted Hood from 1996 through 2003 and ranged from 33 up to 55 feet. These boats were derived from the Black Watch line of boats that hood also owned and produced. They were a modified Hunt deep V. Sometime around 1999 the company was purchased by Hinckley, more or less to limit their own competition. Soon there after all of the molds for the Whisperjet line were destroyed.

Hinckley and Hunt Yachts are now one company (not Hunt Design). While Hinckley exclusively uses Hamilton Jets, Hunt used Ultradynamics water jets in some of its boats.

I have owned two 34' jet propelled 'downeast' express style boats one with hamilton and one with Ultrajets. Both had proprietary joystick controls for maneuvering.

The jets are most efficient above 25knots and consume an amount of fuel comparable to a prop boat at those speed. It is true that it takes more RPMs for a jet boat to get on plane, BUT...that's also a bit untrue as it takes more RPMs to plane a deep V boat than a boat that is more flat aft.

Jet propelled boats due tend to 'wander' more, especially at lower speeds. This is due to the lack of a keel or rudders. The up side to that argument is that the jets have no underwater running heat to become entangled or damaged should one run aground.

How a jet propelled boat is controlled (either manual or electronic bucket control) can be a source of issue for the owner of these boats. The combination of a bow thruster in conjunction with a single or twin water jet set up can be a very maneuverable craft. I have never driven one, but I would think that a single jet with no thruster, such as the case with the inflatable tender, could prove to be quite difficult to control.

Maintenance is often mentioned as another issue with jets. The truth is that jets are fairly simplistic in design and have very few moving parts to maintain. They are all aluminum for the most part and do require very rigorous maintenance when it comes to replacing zincs. Jets are much more reliable and overall less costly to properly maintain than your typical I/O outdrives.

As I mentioned, we are on our second jet boat, and our next boat will most likely have them as well.
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:00 AM   #17
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We did see a Hinkley at Highborne Cay in May that came from Palm Beach. Would have loved to ask them about their fuel consumption!
That's like a guy in a Toyota pulling up next to a Lamborghini in Palm Beach trying to ask the same question. It's doubtful your presence would even be acknowledged. "Roger there's some peasants trying to get our attention, could you please pepper spray them, security is lax today"
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