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Paceship HIN's & Hull Numbers and assorted Paraphernalia!
What are Hull Identification Numbers and how can you use them to learn more about your boat.
By Jay Moran

Many members have written us asking to get more information on their boat such as when it was made and if it was made by someone before or after Paceship made it or if it is a post Paceship era boat. With the hull number and especially the HIN (Hull Identification Number) in hand, much of this can be ascertained especially when correlated to the in depth knowledge of Paceship that is available on the TPW.

First, what is a HIN? Well in both the US and Canada the federal/central governments required that on and after November 1, 1972 all boats made in these countries must have a HIN. Many countries have adopted this system since this time as well. Prior to this date there was a host of different requirements or systems implemented by either country or even by some states and provinces that made tracking boats or understanding much about them difficult. The HIN system set out standards that were meant to solve such problems.

Pre-HIN boats

So if your boat was made before, November 1, 1972 it will not have a HIN. In such cases there are two different things you might find on or in your boat. One is a plastic placard usually found on an interior bulkhead in the cabin of the larger boats or in the cockpit of some of the smaller boats. Most of the placards say Industrial Shipping Co. LTD although some may say Paceship Yachts LTD.

Although likely all of the larger boats had these placards originally installed in their cabins, we have found many boats where the placard is missing.  We can only assume that the placard was taken off during a refinishing project or perhaps taken by a previous owner as a memento of their beloved Paceship.

Another item common on Paceships is a metal serial number/ Maximum recommended loading plate require by both countries for most of the years before HIN implementation.

Above is a typical nameplate this one for an East Wind - courtesy Robin Scot johnson

Right is a metal transom mounted placard found on most or all of the smaller boats. Such plates set out information regarding the maker, model, year of manufacture and serial (hull) number as well as loading information.  Sometimes maximum motor horsepower was provided if applicable. This plate was a standard plate that could be purchased from a number of sources and engraved by hand or stamped with the information.

As you can see the plates were pop riveted to the boats and as a result usually (but not always!) stay with the boat.

Occasionally, one finds the required metal plate on the transom and a Paceship placard in the cockpit or cabin as well.  ALthough we cannot find a particular rhyme or reason for the variance, we are sure someone could give the explanation back when in Mahone bay!

This plate is from the rare Φ (the greek letter Phi - pronounced "fee") - Photo courtesy Don & Melanie  Sinclaire
Other clues!

Although we have found sail numbers and sail insignia's to be poor proof of hull numbers and even models. Still, with other evidence, sometimes they can support the story of a boats history. In the case of the Φ, (the Greek letter "Phi" pronounced "fee") the unusual model name, placard and logo match nicely allowing us insight into this rare model.

Generally, we have to look at all the evidence to be able to understand the model year and when a given hull was manufactured. This includes the HIN (if applicable) and the Hull # and other information including sail numbers and placard information provided.

Generally we can compare this information to other member data submitted and come up with a likely guess!

Sail insignias also sometime tell a story - Photo courtesy Don & Melanie  Sinclaire
This logo introduced in 1962( although soon was replaced by what we know today as the Paceship logo) can help to date your boat - Photo courtesy Don & Melanie Sinclaire

The member list allows us to see many boats and many hull numbers even without the benefit of HIN's. We have found many variations in how Paceship numbered their boats. For example in the late 60's it seems as though Paceship wanted to provide year information as part of their hull numbers, this seems to be the case with Westwinds where numbers like 875 or 8-75 were meant to denote hull number 75 cast in 1968.

That said such hull numbers were used on 1969 models that may well have been cast in 1968! This same numbering sequence can be seen in Peregrines although we have seen variations for which we cannot find any rhyme or reason. However, although we do see variations in numbering, mostly the schemes are pretty "plain vanilla" and make sense.

About HIN's!

So, it you have or think you have a post HIN implemented boat, you can determine some things about your boat. First, it is possible for you to have a 1973 model boat that is manufactured in the fall of 1972 ( August 1972 through October 31st) that does NOT have a HIN. Other boats MOLDED after this time will indeed have a HIN (probably!). Again, there was a lot of confusion in the early years of HIN so it is always possible that variations may exist.

We have found boats that have no HIN that have hull numbers larger than boats that have a HIN.  This is possible since some boats may have been molded before the November 1st 1972 cutoff but not finished before boats that were molded after the cutoff. Such non-HIN boats can earn a hull number larger than later molded boats!

We can easily interpret a HIN as outlined in the figure to the left.

the HIN can be found on the outer upper starboard transom under the rub rail

The first three characters are the Manufacturers Identification code (MIC) the next five characters are the manufacturers information as they may wish to use it. In the case of Paceship, the first two numbers are a model related code and the next three are hull number. the final 3 or 4 numbers relate to a HIN that is either a "Model year" type HIN or a "Date of mfg" type HIN.  

If an "M" is included, it is a "Model year" type HIN and if some the M is followed by the model year and an alphabetical character denoting the month of manufacture. 

Like automobiles, the model year begins in August which is denoted as an "A".The characters that denote the model and the hull number contains some tricks. 

For example in the HIN noted above the "Y6" denotes a PY version (Y) and the "6" means the 26 foot version although in later (AMF) years "B0" was used to denote the same model (no clue why!). By comparison a PY23 was coded as a "Y3" and later AMF versions were coded as "A0" (same no clue!).  Still some boats were coded in an ambiguous way; P29's were coded "29" along with Chance 29/25's etc.

The Paceship coding system for hull numbers and HIN's seemed arbitrary at times although, often, if you examined it closely amongst many boats in our member list, there is usually a shred of uniformity!

After the HIN system was implemented, we see variations on the HIN scheme. This is probably as a result of confusion over the regulations.

Here are examples of a HIN on the transom (with a mfg date variation with a slash between the month) and a matching cockpit placard on this P17.

A painted over cockpit placard on a P17
Courtesy Fred Rosenberg 
A typical molded in HIN
-Courtesy Fred Rosenberg 
State/Province Assigned HINs

We have had many owners insist that theirs was a particular model year based upon State or Province assigned HINs.  Generally HINs are assigned by governmental agencies were one does not exist (or they or the owner cannot find one). Generally such HINs begin with a state/province abbreviation (say FL for Florida) followed by a "Z". the ending numbers usually to assign the model year like FLZXXXXXXX72 for the year 72. This usually means little as the 72  sometime means that they know there were no HINs prior to 1973 so they automatically assign 1972 to the HIN. Earlier numbers (say 68) might actually be an owners guess as to the vintage.

So, from experience, we do not take the new owners guess at the model year.  We have found such assertions are notoriously wrong based upon some 1400 reported hull numbers over the last 10 years as we have been logging new members into the site. When it comes to state assigned HINs there is little uniformity.

We use the HINs extensively in our archeology project on Paceships and we try hard to query owners about info that looks odd. Often times the questioned information turns out as suspected to be wrong.  However, sometimes the information yields some new discovery about Paceships!

Either way, having HINs or Hull numbers helps us know more about Paceship and the models it produced over time. By charting production of the boats, especially those in simultaneous production, we learn more and more about Paceships direction and design/marketing thrust over the years.

If you have a 1973 or later boat and you have not submitted a HIN, please help us by sending in the HIN. If you have a pre-1973 boat, take a look around your boat for signs of a Hull number. If you have a boat that you think is a post-1972 boat but it has no HIN, consider that something may be fishy!  Filling in the blanks on Paceship production is important and builds value in our unique genre of exception sailboats!

Finally, there were other changes made to the HIN program made after 1983 which are not presented here.  We may add this information later for those seeking more up top date information how HINs work since this time and today, Let us know if you would like to know more.

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