Which Island Packet?
Just for the record, I am an archtect who designs buildings, but I have designed boats and worked for yacht designers. I still attend yacht design symposia and tend to turn directly to yacht designers when questions come up that I am not sure about.
I slightly disagree with your statement " cruising isn''t about getting there." I think that cruising is about how you get there as well as where you are going. Being able to get where you are going safely and comfortably is an essential element in the design of an offshore cruiser.
One point that I would elaborate upon is the idea that beating ability is not important because it is uncomfortable. One of the advances in yacht design is a reshaping of the bow and moving the center of buoyancy aft so that going to windward does not have to be the bone jarring experience that it once was. Lower drag and better sails and sail handling gear means that heel angles can be reduced. That means that one has a better chance to get to where they are going comfortably even when that means close reaching and beating.