Tommy Bahama and Hacker Boats: From Silk to Mahogany


Tommy Bahama does Boating

Story Jill Bobrow Photos Hacker Boat Company

The Tommy Bahama label evokes coastal living and the island life. As you think Tommy Bahama, images of swaying palm trees and loose-fitting silk shirts emblazoned with jumping marlins probably float to mind, but rustic hand-hewed cabins and Adirondack chairs? Probably not.

Lake George in Upstate New York has plenty of these rustic cabins, Adirondack chairs and is also home for Hacker-Craft. This iconic American boat brand now, too, is part of the Tommy Bahama world. The two companies introduced the first Tommy Bahama Edition Hacker-Craft, an elegant 27-foot all-mahogany boat aptly named Relax, at the 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. It turns out the synergy between the two brands is not so far fetched.

“We fell in love with Hacker during a fashion shoot for our brand book. When we received a wildly positive response, we knew we were on to something. We are aware that our customers love boating and the lifestyle it affords, so we went to Lake George with the director of our creative team to see how Hackers are built. Witnessing skilled workers using hand tools and sandpaper pretty much cemented the idea,” says Rob Goldberg, Tommy Bahama’s senior VP of marketing.

Since the boat’s successful debut in Fort Lauderdale, the two companies have continued to work together on additional models up to 33 feet in length, all in Hacker-Craft’s sport line. While it is an existing line characterized by a nice flare, wide beam and a bit higher freeboard than other Hacker-Craft models, it has been made to mesh with the Tommy Bahama feel.

“For our Tommy Bahama brand, we have chosen a gentleman’s model with a darker-than-ordinary stain that uses our trademark colors for the bottom paint and boot stripe,” Goldberg says. The Tommy Bahama boats come decked out with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Tommy Bahama burgee floating on the bow, custom upholstery, a refrigerated drawer, cocktail cabinet with custom glassware, picnic table and blue LED lighting in the engine compartment and underwater.

There is an enticing continuity to the Hacker-Craft brand, even if the Hacker Boat Company has had several incarnations. John Ludwig Hacker founded the iconic American boat brand in 1908, and in 1970 the Hacker Boat Company put down roots in Silver Bay on Lake George. Recently, the company expanded into a newer facility in nearby Ticonderoga where crafstmen apply the same care and techniques to build and hand finish classic runabouts, sport boats, launches and luxury tenders.

Built exclusively in wood, each boat requires more than 1,000 hours of detailed work, including 15 coats of hand-brushed varnish atop the mahogany planking. It gives them a whimsical retro feel, which the Tommy Bahama Edition Hacker-Craft combines with modern electronics and visions of palm trees.

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LOA: 27 ft. (8.23m)
Beam: 7ft. 3in. (2.1m)
2ft. 3in. (0.66m)
4,450 lbs.
wood / batten seam planking
Engines (standard):
1 x Imor MV8 6.2L (gasoline)
Speed (max./cruising):
  34/26 knots
Fuel capacity:
51 gal.
Hacker Boat Company
$329,000 (for this model)



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