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Old 12-01-2012
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Re: Blue Jacket 40 (new racer/cruiser)

When I read the descriptions of the Blue Jacket 40, I think to myself, this ought to be a boat that I really like. I think, that we have been through several decades of improvement in our understanding of performance, motion comfort, hardware and rig design, structural load paths and structural and material design technology that should be filtering into the world of cruising yachts, and producing boats which clearly are improvements of the performance cruising boats of past generations.

When I look at boats like the Morris Ocean series, or the latest Hallberg Rasseys, Najads, XC 38, I see the genetic influence of the improvements in yacht design science. And while these are wildly expensive boats to buy, their designs show an intent that begins to suggest an improvement to the breed that ideally will filter down into less expensive versions. And infact, to one degree or another, that same thinking has filtered down into less expensive and less offshore oriented models, such as some of the latest Beneteaus, Dufours, and even Catalinas.

And from an arm chair point of view, my sense is that someone like Tim Jackett should have the skill to develop an American, mass market oriented version of the boats produced in Europe or our own custom market, but this alliance between Tim Jackett and Island Packet has resulted in the proverbial ‘Camel: a horse designed by committee’.

As much as I want to like the Blue Jacket, as much as I am staunch advocate for performance cruising boats, as much as I applaud Island Packet for leaving their traditional comfort zone, when I look at the Blue Jacket in detail, I come away wondering “what the heck were they thinking?” Both Tim Jacket and Island Packet should have known better. To me this is a gimmicky version of what this boat should have been. The annoying part is if you read what they wanted to accomplish, it sounds so good... so right. The tragedy in my mind is that they did not come closer to their own mark. And the tragedy is that in these difficult times for boat builders, they identified a market they they uniquely could have dominated if the did it right, but instead they appear to have missed their mark. And while they may sell a bunch of these solely on name recognition, the shame on them is that they should have produced a boat which sold because it was a superb design well executed.

What they call this, racer-cruiser, performance cruiser, offshore passage maker, is besides the point. What this is vs what it could be, is where my disappointment lies.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 02-27-2013 at 10:40 AM.
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