We went to an unveiling this week for a retro-styled Hornet 17 at the Marine Dealer Conference & Exposition in Orlando, Florida. The two-year-old Hornet Marine, which makes the sports-car style 17-footer, exhibited at the conference looking for new dealers for the boats, which are built in Connecticut. The boats not only come in a variety of colors, but can be delivered with different detailing, features, and Mercruiser engines.
To the sounds of Frank Sinatra crooning, company president David Hartmann pulled the cover off a burgundy hull featuring a varnished mahogany trim strip all around the hull-deck joint. On the transom, a wooden ensign flag staff. The trailer was painted maroon to match and had whitewall tires.
Hartmann's company partner David Martel described how much fun the boat was at high speed ("sometimes we can't stop laughing") and how quiet the ride was in waves due to the 24-degree deadrise and the foam filling the cavity under the cockpit floor.
Hornet has built a couple dozen boats so far. Depending on customization and options, the boats range in price from $35,000 to $65,000. So far, the company has dealers as far south as Florida and as far west as Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.