I''m coming in a bit late on this conversation, but my observations about Island Packets have been that their owners don''t really care how fast they go; they''re just having fun. It drives me crazy when another sailboat passes me (that old definition of a sailboat race is two or more boats that can see each other!) but the IP sailors either don''t care or don''t know how to make them go faster. I''ve got a friend with an older IP35 I sail with some times and he tends to throw the sails up and, if he''s moving, he''s happy. Other boats go whizzing by and he just waves, happy as can be. I run around and tweak the sails (and I''ve since helped him tune the rig) and we can sail by most of the other production boats in the area. I''m actually very impressed with their solid construction, their shoal draft (especially here in Florida)and their sailing abilities, IF SAILED PROPERLY.
I met Rob and Dee Dubin a few years ago at a boat show; they used to produce the video magazine called Sailing Quarterly. They had just bought an IP 40, and said it was the best boat of any that they had seatrialed over the 4-5 years filming reviews. Their website is quite informative, it''s worth a browse (www.ventanasvoyage.com). FWIW, here''s what they say about "boat speed."
First the facts- Bob Johnson has designed a fast boat. The first generation of IP''s had a bad reputation mostly because they looked tubby. But even then IP 38''s were winning the Caribbean 1500. The subsequent generations of IP''s have just gotten faster and now they win even more rallys. The combination of a fast boat and a comfortable ride continue to allow IP''s to outsail many other boats of equal or larger size. During over 4 years of cruising we have spent countless days sailing island to island with other cruisers. Nearly EVERY time we are faster than any boat under 50''. Many times we beat other respected cruising boats into port by an hour on an 8 hour sail. Even more times we hear complaints of rough passages and see our friends arrive beat up while we only noticed a bit of motion. This seems especially true going downwind where we find our IP 40 rolls far less than many other boats. We often sail dead downwind on a flat steady boat while others jibe downwind at no better speed just to ease the motion.
"With the right sails up we find we can go 1/2 the windspeed in almost any conditions upwind or down. If its blowing 6 knots we can do 3 and if its blowing 15 we can do 7-8 knots. On a reach we usually do better and with the gennikker better still."
I suspect the boats really do sail a lot better than their competitors are willing to admit.