Saturday, October 15, 2016

Yamaha Outboards Make Boating Great Again

Zoe and Ella Higgins Taking a Frigid Dip in Belfast Harbor with a Yamaha F300
Is it truly possible to fall in love with an inanimate object?  For those of you that have a Yamaha on your boat's transom, you know the answer.

Maine boaters love Yamaha outboards; Hamlin's Marine has sold more Yamaha outboards than any other dealer in the Northeast for the past seven years.  In this year alone, Hamlin's Marine has sold 315 Yamahas to Maine boaters!

Why are Yamaha outboards such a popular choice to power pontoon boats, deck boats, sport boats, and fishing boats?  I've heard so many reasons.  Here's what I hear from Yamaha customers:

"I swear my Yamaha doesn't burn gas!"
Yamahas definitely burn gas...just not nearly as much as older technology outboards and inboard/outboard engines.

"I can't hear my engine running!"
If you listen closely, you can hear the motors running.  I do think that the water discharge spout makes more noise than the actual motor.

"My Yamaha always starts on the coldest mornings."
We have some very enthusiastic duck hunters that actually enjoy being offshore on January mornings in Maine.  God Bless them!

"I used to have brand X outboard...what a piece of $%#&!  I beat the hell out of my Yamaha and I can't kill it!"
At Hamlin's we suggest that you properly maintain your outboard and that you don't abuse it, but's your Yamaha!

When searching for a boat for your family, it is definitely important to decide on the power to get you home safe and on time.  I think of all my great boating memories, and there always seems to be a Yamaha outboard in the background.  I can think of some unpleasant days as well...guess what, I wasn't running a Yamaha!

As we go into fall, here are some great Yamaha memories from 2016:

A Rare Day of Successful Fishing with Dan off of Fiji with Yamaha F250

More Typical Day of Fishing with Dan on Moosehead Lake with Yamaha F115

Katie and Dan Island Hopping with Twin 150s

Family Photoshoot of the Scout 151 in a Rockland quarry with a Yamaha T50

Josh Cottrell Catching Penobscot River Stripers with a Yamaha F300

Chris Duffy and  Mark Hansen in the Bowl Behind Mt. Kineo with a Yamaha F115

Zoe and Ella Higgins in a Cutwater 24 off of Stockton Harbor with a Yamaha 300

Katie Higgins Showing off our Custom Painted Yamaha 300 Cowling

This Man May Love Yamaha more than Most with Twin 300 Yamahas


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Puffin Boat Company: Building Boats with a Purpose...

The Puffin Boat Company grew out of Hamlin’s Marine, a large family boat dealership in Maine.  For years, the family travelled around the country purchasing boats to be sold into the Maine market.  Oftentimes, the family served on dealer councils providing input on boat design and features.

For one family member, boats became an obsession.  Dan Higgins loved the way boats were able to change lives.  He loved the way a boat ride on Penobscot Bay could dissolve a month’s worth of stress, and he loved the way a pontoon boat could take three generations of family out on a pristine lake to share memories. 

It became clear that buying and selling boats wasn’t enough to feed Dan’s obsession.  Fortunately for Dan, his wife Katie supported the idea of building boats.  Together, Katie and Dan formed a boat building company in early 2013 by buying the molds and building rights of Puffin Dinghy.

You see, Katie and Dan started building Puffin Dinghies because they were in danger of being replaced by cheap plastic and inflatable alternatives.  However, nothing matches the beauty and simplicity of an honest hand-laid fiberglass dinghy.  Many people still see the purpose in buying a Puffin Dinghy.

The Puffin Boat Company expanded rapidly, and Katie and Dan decided that more projects were needed to support the mission of Building Boats with a Purpose.

The purpose of the Scout 151 is to make family boating affordable again.  Powered by a Yamaha outboard, this unsinkable 15’ masterpiece is the perfect companion on the water for a family of four.  A 151 Scout is built to the highest standards on the water.  It shares the same construction techniques of the rest of the Scout family of boats built in South Carolina, but with a price tag starting well below $20,000.  Add popular options like a bow rail, bow cushion, ski tow, and swim platform and you’ll never want to go home after a day of sun and fun. 

The Edendriver 17 boasts a subtle sexiness, plus the handsome lines of a boat designed to handle chop and powerful tides.   The Edendriver blends traditional Downeast lines with South Carolina DNA.  It can be fitted as a practical fishing boat, or as a luxurious sport tender for exploring harbors.

Edendriver is the living legacy of late boat designer, Seph Limehouse.  Edendriver started on John’s Island in South Carolina in 2007.  Years later, Seph was diagnosed with cancer.  Before he succumbed, Seph finished three Edendrivers for family members.  Stevie Potts, owner of Scout boats and Seph’s Brother-in-Law, kept the dream alive by making the Edendriver production ready and working with Dan Higgins to get the tooling and plans to Maine. 
Edendriver is the next chapter of The Puffin Boat Company’s mission of Building Boats with a Purpose.   

A portion of Edendriver sales will go to support Seph’s family in South Carolina as well as, a cancer organization that raises awareness for early detection of cancer. 

Let The Puffin Boat Company fill your obsession with a boat built with a purpose.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Scout 151 Built By Puffin Boats in Maine

Scout 151 Dorado
If you would like a versatile and affordable boat built to last a lifetime, come to the New England Boat Show this week and set your eyes upon the Scout 151.  Hamlin's Marine has been a long time dealer of the entire line of Scout Boats built in Summersville, SC for many years.  However, the 151 is special, as these boats are now built at Hamlin's manufacturing wing...Puffin Boats in Hampden, Maine.  Puffin Boats is also building components for Hinckley Yachts, display units for Vineyard Vines, as well as our classic line of dinghies.

The 151 is offered in two configurations, a dual console and a center console.  The center console model, the Scout 151 Sportfish, is an excellent fishing rig for fresh or salt water and may be equipped with electronics and a trolling motor.

Scout 151 Sportfish with Big Brother in Background

Demand for both models has been high as the Scout 151 Sportfish, Yamaha F40, and trailer starts at just $16,995 which prices well below competing small boats offered by Boston Whaler and Edgewater.  Unlike competing models the 151 features and on-board 10 gallon fuel tank versus and gaumy portable tank.  It also features a self-bailing deck which is not common in this segment.  Powered by a base 40 HP outboard, the boat tops out at 32 MPH which is great for pulling a tube with the kids.  Know also, that you can upgrade to a 50 HP option.

Best of all, the Scout will be built by Maine craftsmen in Hampden, Maine.  Puffin Boats puts their heart and soul into producing the finest quality on the market today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hamlin's Wolfpack & The Boston Boat Show

The Hamlin's Marine sales team....aka "The Wolfpack" has temporarily moved from our homes in the Maine woods to the mean streets of Boston for the annual New England Boat Show.  This year, Hamlin's Marine went big and hauled seven boats down to display.  Of course, as my luck would have it, our move in was during a blizzard...again!

City living is akin to visiting Mars for us. Despite Josh Cottrell's defensive driving, I am afraid for my life during our commute from the Convention Center to our very humble rental tenement in Jamaica Plain.  Our only salvation is that we have been adopted by a pillar of the community down here, Gerry the proprietor of Doyle's Cafe.  Doyle's is an Irish Pub in Jamaica Plain and it provides the Hamlin's Wolfpack with the shelter and courage we need to survive in our strange elements.  Gerry has given us free parking and has shown us true hospitality.  If you are ever in Jamaica Plain, do not miss an opportunity to visit Doyle's Cafe and tell Gerry the Wolfpack sent you.

The New England boat show has been open for three days now and we have six to go.  Hamlin's has already sold as many boats as we did during last year's show. You can find us in the Scout and Cutwater booths.  The new Scout 151 that we are building at Puffin Boats in Hampden is having a world debut and is a hot, hot boat.  Cutwater's new 24 with a Yamaha F300 outboard is a game changer.

 If you want to attend the show to buy a boat, make sure you call Hamlin's so we can leave some tickets at will call for you

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Still Boating in February

It's been such a mild winter in Maine!  
A couple of guys from Hamlin's were actually trolling for fish on Branch Pond  on New Year's Day.  On the first day of February,  the Kennebec River was still open clear up to Hallowell; that hasn't happened in over sixty years.

If you are a boating addict, we may be in for a very early spring.

Reid Garrity of Hamlin's and I haven't stopped boating.  Two weeks ago, we were in Wrightsville Beach, NC on a mission to test drive a 25' Hunt Surfhunt.  That boat will be arriving in Hampden on Friday or Saturday, so come down and check her out if are looking for a beautiful New England style coastal cruiser.

On Sunday, we attended the Seattle boat show to check out the Cutwater booth.

Today... Reid and I are in Everett,   Washington with fellow boaters, Penny and Steve. We are impatiently waiting to head to Jetty's Landing so we can test run the most eagerly awaited boat ever, the Cutwater 24 Outboard.

Yesterday we watched another 24 get launched and run performance trials up and down the river.  The 300 HP Yamaha put her instantly on plane; after running her up to the mid forties, Captain Ronnie from Cutwater pulled a 180 degree turn on a dime.  

It's Penny's birthday today, and we are hoping it will be her best one yet!  All of us will be boating on the Pacific for the first time.  We all are hoping to spot an Orca or two!  Reminds me of all those hopeful of seeing a moose in our neck of the woods.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 2 at Scout on the 151 Project

Our crew...Justin, Eric, and Reid, made great progress today on the 151 project. Scout's people have been extremely generous with their time and facility to ensure that what makes a Scout a Scout remains true, even when the 151 Sportfish and 151 Dorado are built in Maine.

We got down and dirty today prepping the top deck with rigging tubes and pre-drilling everything for stainless cleats, a bow rail, access hatches, and other finishing components.

The highlight today was popping the deck mold with the help of compressed air and overhead hoists.  Here's a video of us flipping the finished part just off the mold:

Going through the build process in real time is a religious experience for me.  I've had dozens of sales training seminars at Scout, but until you see human hands slowly manifest a boat from a barrel of resin and a roll of cloth, you just cannot appreciate the lengths that Scout goes to deliver a superior boat.  Everything from the hand laying process to the premium materials used to stiffen and reinforce  areas of impact and stress guarantee a lifetime of enjoyment on the water.

The Puffin team worked hard today, but that didn't stop us from having some fun.  
Here are the boys learning about static electricity:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cutwater's Long Awaited 24 Outboard

One year ago, I stood dumbfounded aboard the Cutwater 24 Solara at the Seattle Boat Show.  The boat was visually stunning and featured a fully enclosed cabin with a comfortable rear cockpit.  The 24 Solara on display was equipped with a gas inboard/outboard engine.  

At the same time, there was a 24 Solara powered by a Yamaha F300 outboard on display at the Toronto Boat Show.  I knew that the outboard version was going to be a smash hit with our boaters in Maine.  The 24 Solara reminded me of a saying from a wise old salt I know.  He said:

"You know Dan...folks always want the same things in a boat.  They want it to go fast, they want it to be big, and they want it cheap.  You can certainly get one of those may even find two of the three, but you ain't gonna ever get all three!"

Well, if this boat did as well on the water as it did in the Seattle Convention Center, I was going to prove that old man wrong!

Well...history would side for the old man.

Preliminary orders for the boat were record breaking, but as is often the case in the boat building world...the hull and deck needed some tweaks.  It would take another year to achieve Cutwater's full satisfaction related to performance, handling, and comfort.

Where many builders might have pulled the plug on the project, Cutwater steamed on ahead.  They employed massive resources to ensure that the Cutwater 24 customer would get more for their money.

Here are a couple of spy photos of the new and improved Cutwater 24 Outboard that is testing at 46 MPH with three passengers, full fuel, and water:

One of the perks of my job is that I get to do some pretty sweet boat stuff.  I'm travelling to Seattle later this month with my wife, Katie, and some of my favorite customers to seatrial one of the first production Cutwater 24s.  We've already pre-ordered a couple for customers and one will be on display in our booth at the New England Boat Show in Boston next month.

The new and improved Cutwater 24 will change the cruising game in Maine.  I anticipate that early orders for this will be huge, so if you think you might want one this Hamlin's right off!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bringing the Scout 151 to Maine

Hamlin's Marine has long been a dealer for Scout Boats, and our customers have fallen in love with the unique styling, unbeatable performance, and supreme comfort that is only found in a Scout. 

Now, something special has happened.  We will be bringing the production of the Scout 151, an entry level 15' fiberglass boat, to Maine!

Tomorrow, I'll be joining my crew in South Carolina.  Hamlin's Marine and Puffin Boats of Hampden, Maine will be at the Scout plant assembling a 2016 Scout 151 Sportfish that will be featured at the New England Boat Show in Boston next month.  Meanwhile we've been busy back at home ramping up our facility and crew to take full production back to Maine!

Two versions of the Scout 151 will be on display in Boston in February, as well as all the Maine boat shows (Portland, Augusta, & Bangor) throughout the month of March.  Both versions will feature integrated 10 gallon fuel tanks, 100% composite construction (no wood!), plenty of onboard storage, four person capacity,  and an unsinkable closed cell foam core.

The Scout 151 is an honest entry level boat that can do, cruise, entertain, and even pull a tube.  With a packaged Yamaha F40 and trailer, you can go anywhere with your Scout 151 with only a light tow vehicle.

For a limited time, you can order you Scout 151 in time for spring at a special low price.

2016 Scout 151 Sportfish (center console) with Yamaha F40 and trailer:


2016 Scout 151 Dorado (dual console) w/ bow rail and ski tow with Yamaha F40 and trailer:

I'll be posting regular updates of the project this week.  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Switch to Benningron

Last season, Hamlin's Marine made a very big change.  After twenty-two years with the same line of pontoon boats, we switched to Bennington.

It was a very difficult decision for us as some of the people we worked with at the old company were practically family;  the boat business is a very personal business.

But, things had grown difficult.  Over the course of several years, we found it increasingly difficult to satisfy our customers.  New models weren't being produced, quality was diminishing, and we had to hire a full time person just to submit the warranty claims.  

So when my wife Katie and I were surrounded by excited Bennington dealers at last year's Yamaha Outboards Awards Trip, we listened.  After a couple of plant tours in Elkhart, IN and some boat show reconnaissance, we were hooked!

What we'd been hearing over the past couple of years wasn't just hype.  Bennington is the real deal...a truly remarkable builder and designer of boats.!  Although pontoon boats are one of the most popular segments in the family recreation industry,  most agree that pontoons aren't traditional boats.

Through styling, design, and performance features, Bennington has changed the perception of what a pontoon boat can be.  Sitting in the cockpit of a Q or an R series Bennington with a windshield and an aluminum arch is not unlike sitting in the cockpit of the most advanced sport boats and cruisers on the market.  

The benefits of owning a Bennington are not limited to the luxury models.  The base family models are ripe with quality upholstery and features you'd only expect in competing lines luxury trim levels.

Hamlin's Marine is excited to introduce you to Bennington pontoons in 2016!

Saturday, January 2, 2016


What is "Edendriver"?  Technically speaking, Edendriver is a compact power boat with remarkable styling, handling, and utility for fishing or entertaining.

Of course there was never a boat without a story, and Edendriver's story is likely one of the best and worst you've ever heard.

Let's start with the name..."Edendriver".  Peculiar, isn't it?  It is surely not the intuitive sort of name we are used to hearing like "Sundancer"... "Pursuit"..."Boston Whaler".   You get the point.  "Edendriver" is not a love at first sight type of name.  The name is one of those things like coffee, manual transmissions, or in my case...Bourbon.  An aquired taste is often better, isn't it?

"Edendriver" was inspired by Seph Limehouse's daily driving commute to Scout Boats in Summersville, South Carolina from his home in the Eden Forest on John's Island.   Seph was a boatbuilder and designer at Scout Boats, and he worked alongside his Brother-in-Law, Stevie Potts.  Seph was an old world craftsman trapped in the digital age.  He and his love, Leigh, hand built a custom home on the island to standards rarely seen today.

What Seph didn't know is that his body would not allow him to share a long life with Leigh and his daughter, Ellen.  While Leigh was pregnant, Seph learned that he was going to die.  Seph, Leigh, and the whole family soon learned the agony and pain brought on by terminal cancer.  The physical pain was endured alone by Seph for three years, which makes "Edendriver" all the more remarkable.  

Seph knew that he would be abandoning Leigh and Ellen on planet Earth, but he was going to make damn sure they didn't struggle after his time passed.  Surrounded by friends and family, Seph left his lasting achievement designing and building the Edendriver.  For three years Seph toiled in his barn, all the while fighting excrutiating pain.  "Edendriver" is Seph's legacy and his tribute to the family left behind.

Puffin Boats and Hamlin's Marine will be building and selling the Edendriver for Seph's family beginning in 2016.  Seph's original build will be on display at the New England Boat Show in Boston this February.  The first production "Edendriver" built in Maine will debut at the Maine Boats & Harbors Show in Rockland in August 2016.