Purchasing through Charter Programs
JeffH seems very well informed. Two of my associates sell new Island Packets in the NY and CT areas. I agree with JeffH, the IP''s are overpriced and not much fun to sail. There are a lot of choices in boats. If you go with less expensive but well built, maybe you won''t have to put the boat in charter to afford one and can start sailing it now instead of 5 years from now (most charter companies make you sign a 5 year mangement contract).
As I stated, I had success with an ex charter boat for myself. Beneteaus are not he only ex-charter boats availabel either. There are Dufours, Gib''Seas, Jeanneaus, Bavarias, some Catalinas and a few Freedoms.
If you want a new boat, the Dufour Grand Classic sereies (and Gib''Sea line of from Dufour) are excellent French built boats. With the French Franc currently weak against the US dollar, they''re an excellent value. On the Dufour Classic series you get alot of "high-priced" boat features standard: Whitlock rack & pinion steering, self aligning rudder brearings, better reinforced glass hull with vacuum assisted construction for strength and longevity, volvo saildrive engine, electric windlass, Autohelm ST6000 auto pilot with ST 60 tridata and API. there are numerous other standard features in this very fast, blue water cruiser.
I compared the Dufour Classic 36 to the Sabre 36 and cost $100,000 less. I found it to be built better, with many of these standard features not even avaialble options on the Sabre. With the $100,000 difference in price, I could do alot to "tweek" the Dufour. The Dufour Classic 39 comes in with similar standard features and costs $70,000 less than a Sabre.
This is just one example. There are alot of boats out there that are well built, offer better performance and just as sea worthy as IP, Sabre or any other high priced cruising yacht.
By the way, you did not mention what size IP you had been considering.