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  #11  
Old 08-21-2004
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Which Island Packet?

Conchcruiser,
My opinion is about as opposite as it gets with the resident expert here.

For the Bahamas and Florida I''d go with the shallow draft. The difference means more anchorages, safer anchorages, no surge anchorages, shaving big sailing miles off by cutting across banks, sailing in smooth protected water instead of open rough water, getting into marinas, etc. You can visit a lot of places with the deeper draft and a lot more with the shallower draft. When hurricane season comes around you will pray for every inch of draft you can save.

Compared to full keels, most fin keels are nervous nellies sailing or at anchor. They like to snag anchor lines when using two rodes in a current (normal in the islands). They are a constant source of problems. Fins are good for picking your way through coral heads and docking but it stops there for me. I don''t like having to correct the helm everytime a wave decides to push the boat one way or another. Downwind in big following seas is a workout compared to full keels...it''s all about fatique. Windvanes don''t like following seas and that problem is greatly magnified with fin keels. Skegs don''t help a lot either. Sensitivity is a good thing for day sailing and racing but not for cruising.

You can go to the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association)meet every year in Melbourne, Florida for a good idea of what seasoned cruisers prefer in a boat. They come from all over the world and the last 5-6 years showed 300+ boats anchored off in attendance for the week long event. You can divide the groups into two types..."very experienced" and "others". Very experienced are generally sailing traditional full keel, moderate to heavy displacement boats. These are sailors with life long sailing backgrounds and it "suggests" what their opinion is on the best boat for cruising. For what it''s worth, I''ve lived aboard, cruised, raced and owned multiple types of sailboats over the past 40+ yrs...and have the same opinion.

With that said, the IPs have a good rep here in Florida. They are made for local conditions and do it nicely.

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  #12  
Old 08-23-2004
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Which Island Packet?

I think this is a good example of trying to prove that pastachio ice cream is unversally better than strawberry. Like most things in sailing, there is no one size fits all answer that will please everyone and that even extreme differences between very experienced sailors (in this case two sailors ho have sailed for over 40 years) can be extremely divergent, even when the basis for a particular point of view is the same.

For example, when BillPjr says,"Very experienced are generally sailing traditional full keel, moderate to heavy cruising boats." I would say that used to be very true but no longer seems to be the case as many (and frankly most that I come in contact with) of us experienced sailors have tried owning,"traditional full keel, moderate to heavy cruising boats" and moved on to better performing, more easily handled, less tiring, lower drag designs.

Similarly, the right amount of draft is best chosen on based on the venue. If you are predominantly going to be spending time in Florida or the Bahamas then there is a practical draft limit of 5'' to 5''-6" that certainly makes life a lot easier. You can cruise these venues in a deeper draft boat but it means greater viglience and less convenience. On the other hand if you are predominantly going to be cruising offshore, or in a venue like New England, the Pacific Coast, Europe, or the Carribean, greater draft is a real asset and far less of a liability.

Then there are matters of nuance.... "Compared to full keels, most fin keels are nervous nellies sailing or at anchor." I think that I would agree with that. There are a lot of really badly designed fin keeled boats out there, and frankly there probably are more poorly designed fin keelers than there are well designed fin keelers. Nothing is more twitchy than a poorly designed fin keeler, especially one with an attached rudder as was popular in the CCA era.

I would also say that there are a lot of very poorly designed long and full keeled boats out there and that these tend to be nearly equally as twitchy as a poorly designed fin keel boat, and because of the higher helm loads they require much more physical energy to keep on track than a more lightly loaded spade rudder.

On the other hand, a properly designed fin keel boat will track with any full keel boat and will be easier on the crew as well. In my
experience owning, delivering and sailing full keel boats, sailing even a well designed full keel boat downwind in big following seas is a workout compared to the ligher more responsive helm of a well designed fin keel boat. Some of this is clearly preference, some of this is the boats we have experienced (it does not sound like Bill has experienced a well designed fin keeler).

When you talk about comparatively small boats, (by which I mean boats under 50 or so feet) by an large the foils (keel and rudder) play a pretty small role in tracking. Generally staying on course is a matter of the dynamic balance of the rig, hull form and underwater foils. In most of the tank studies that I have read on this matter, and in my own experience, full keel boats do not seem to offer a real advantage in heavy following or quartering seas. Their larger keel area means that there is more area for a wave to act on and twist the boat off its course. Like most things in sailing, full keels both giveth and full keels also take it away.

Then there are the collateral issues that cloud the merits of the discussion. Many, if not most, of the fin keel boats that are out there were produced in a the IOR era and carry with them issues related to the choice of hull form and rig. The twitchness of these boats come from transient changes in immersed hull shape and rigs that are proportioned such that the rig is less conducive to assisting with longitudinal stability. Fin keeled boats are generally lighter (but not always) than a similar length full keeled boat, and also typically carry a greater amount of sail area for their displacement than full keels. The combination of these items have greatly contributed to the popular misconceptions about fin keel boats within the more conservative members of the cruising community.

And lastly there are simply opinions that may or may not have real basis. "Windvanes don''t like following seas and that problem is greatly magnified with fin keels." I strongly agree that windvanes do not work well down wind and in following seas, but equally strongly disagee that the problem is magnafied with a fin keel boat. In fact my experience with vanes is just the opposite finding that vanes have a much harder time with the higher helm loads and large helm angle changes required to keep a long keeled boat on course vs a fin keeler.

Similarly, I would also disagree that fin keeled boats, "like to snag anchor lines when using two rodes in a current". You hear that from people who favor long keeled boat, I have never had an anchor rode foul a fin keel (even when using a Bahamian moor when I frequently anchored in the strong shifting currents of Georgia) or even heard of that actually happening. The closest thing that I encountered to that was with one of my full keeled boats where the anchor rode slid along the bottom of the keel and wedged between the rudder and its bearing jambing its rudder. In fairness, had the boat been a fin keeler the results might have been a line between the keel and the rudder. All of that said, with the current trend in using all chain rodes, or with the precaution of weighting the rode below the depth of the keel to prevent snagging that makes sense no matter what kind of keel you have, that should not be an issue.

Lastly, as to the opinion of the "resident expert around here", I would love to hear his opinion on this but unfortunately, Jack on Whoosh is off cruising around Europe on his fin keel/skeg hung rudder boat.

I also want to touch on the PHRF rating discussion. PHRF ratings are generated at the average prevailing wind that a race might be held in a given region. In most venues that is a wind speed around 10 to 12 knots. That range of windspeeds tends to minimize the differences in speed between boats and so it masks the issue to some extent. Lower drag boats tend to have their greatest speed advantage over higher drag boats at the lighter end of the wind range and at the upper ends of the wind range. On a long passage this can make a huge difference in the duration of the passage and amount of fuel required. While I generally avoid annecdotal evidence in these discussions, I will mention two good items for comparison on this issue. The first, and probably the less valid was a story that was told by a fellow who single-handed a 38 foot sistership to my boat from South Africa to the Caribbean. He left South Africa in company with a heavy and traditional 50 plus footer that rated something pretty close to his boat. It was a trip sailed initially in very high winds and high seas, and then in the light air of the Duldrums and then more moderate conditions in the Caribbean. The 38 footer made it to the Carribean over a week ahead of the heavier boat having burned something less than 17 gallons of diesel. The heavier boat was low on fuel having motored through the Duldrums. I think a better indictor is the Caribean 1500 results. I find these interesting in terms of the kinds of boats people tend to use and the passage times. As a general rule, the faster boats for their length do better than their ratings, but there is always a few heavier, traditional boats that do better than their rating would suggest, and a few lower drag boats that really do terribly.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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  #13  
Old 08-23-2004
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Which Island Packet?

Right, and you are funny. I hear what you are saying but it is evident you focus with tunnel vision on crunching numbers, tank testing, racing, PHRF, etc. more than cruising. Your theory needs few years on the hook and cruising...away from shore, racing and yacht clubs. Two weeks "here & there" and talking to cruisers only get the glass half full. Until you do that you won''t understand what reflects.
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Old 08-27-2004
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Which Island Packet?

I''m not sure why you people are saying that all Island Packets are dogs. I have owned a 380 for 3 years now and have on many times passed Hunters in the 38-40 foot range and Beneteaus of similiar size. Even a beneteau 46 in 20 knots of wind.

The other day in 8 knots I was sailing on a close reach at half the wind speed.

I agree that they are not the fastest close hauled, I can get to about 45 degrees apparent, and they are not the easiest boat to tack. Although I have never had to turn the engine on to tack as other non-IP owners have claimed must be done.

Before you continue to belittle the later made IP''s go sail one for yourself.

I happen to love mine.

Jeff J.
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  #15  
Old 08-27-2004
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Which Island Packet?

I think that the reason that people say that Island Packets are slow is right in your post.As you said, "The other day in 8 knots I was sailing on a close reach at half the wind speed."

To put that statement in perspective, the other day I was sailing on my 38 foot cruiser on a close reach in 8 knots of wind (true)and my speed was between 7.6 and 8 knots. My boat is only a moderately fast boat. Newer 38 foot designs owe me a bucket full of time.

More to the point, if you look at the PHRF ratings for a IP 380 it is 162 to 168 depending in region and setup. Putting that in perspective a Beneteau 38 rates 114, a Hunter 37-2 rates 120, a Catalina 38 rates 120, a Sabre 38-2 rates 117, in other words 40 to 50 seconds a mile faster. That is a lot when you consider that PHRF rating are based on predominant average windspeeds which tends to minimize the performance difference of boats. At higher and lower wind speeds the speed advantage of these other boats greatly increases.

I think that it valid to say that not all of us value speed equally and that in exchange for a lot less speed IP''s offer a lot of space and capacity for its sailing length. And that''s okay.

Jeff

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Old 08-29-2004
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Which Island Packet?

Here is a list of races taken from the Island Packet web site that Island Packets have taken part in and placed high.

Island Packet Race Victories

Race Year & Name Model / Hull # Yacht Name Finish Owner
1990
Bermuda Ocean Race IP35 #16 Spinache 1st in Class
2nd Overall Ed & daughter Laura Kurowski
1991
Caribbean 1500 IP44 #01 Golden Odyssey 1st in Class
2nd Overall Al & Therese Bente’
1992
Caribbean 1500 IP44 #12 Slow Dancing 1st in Class
2nd Overall David & Sally Heaphy
1993
Caribbean 1500 IP44 #12 Slow Dancing 1st in Class
1st Overall David & Sally Heaphy
1995
Caribbean 1500 IP38 #72 Island Time 1st in Class
2nd Overall Larry & Lynn Lewis
1996
Pacific Cup IP38 #149 Andante 1st in Class
4th Overall David & Kimberly Jones
1996
North Sea Regatta IP35 #124 Bagai 1st in Class
1st Overall Bart van Pelt
1998
Caribbean 1500 IP44 #12 Slow Dancing 1st in Class
2nd Overall David & Sally Heaphy
2000
Caribbean 1500 IP44 #30 Antietam 1st in Class
3rd Overall Jerry & Cynthia Bayer
2001
Marion-Bermuda Race IP35 #16 Spinache 1st in Class
1st Celestial
1st Overall Jim Lawless
2003
Caribbean 1500 IP485 #01 Dancing in the Dark 1st in Class
4th Overall David Heaphy
2003
Bermuda Cup IP420 #43 Eventually 1st in Class
2nd Overall John Parker
2003
Atlantic Cup IP485 #01 Dancing in the Dark 1st in Class
1st Overall David Heaphy
2004
Regata del Sol al Sol IP420 #39 Southern Cross 1st in Class
1st Overall Ryan Cox
2004
Regata del Sol al Sol IP420 #73 Reflection 1st in Class
4th Overall Mitch Massie
2004
Regata del Sol al Sol IP485 #17 Leslie Ann II 2nd in Class
7th Overall Donald Hagan
2004
Miami-Key Largo Race IP26 MkII #33 Bubbles 1st in Class
1st Overall John Pastorik
2004
Chicago-Mackinac Singlehanded Challenge IP40 #60 Whoa Nellie 1st in Class Tony Driza

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  #17  
Old 09-06-2004
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Which Island Packet?

Remember that these are races that are scored on a handicap. In other words these boats may have finished days or even weeks behind the rest of the fleet and yet still corrected out to a good finish. That does not make them fast in absolute terms.

Beyond that, Island Packet''s ratings somewhat reflect the fact that they are not optimized for racing nor are they generally sailed as a racer would sail a boat when cruising. They tend to be delivered with sails that are not performance oriented and deck hardware that limits the ability to control sail shape. A few years back I read a piece about one of the IP''s that did well in the Carribean 1500. The owner of the boat, (a former racer) described what the fairly extensive changes that were done to optimize performance and with these ''unrated'' alterations he felt that the boat had a slight gift rating that would pay off when combined with being sailed as a racer (vs typical cruiser) might sail a boat. That said, he also noted that it was a lot harder to keep the Island Packet up to speed (they were quick to lose speed but hard to get it back) than it was with the race boats that he owned and raced in his prior life.

Jeff
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Old 09-10-2004
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Which Island Packet?

Well, I''ve got the 40 under contract! She''s a great boat and very well equipped. I''m excited to move forward with the purchase of this boat. I can''t wait to start my cruising life.

Thanks to all for the pointed and thoughtful input to my question. I know that the IP isn''t the perfect boat for every situation, but in the end, I think it''s going to suit me fine.

Cheers,
ConchCruzer
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  #19  
Old 09-10-2004
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Which Island Packet?

Thats really all that matters on buying the "best boat"...
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Old 07-18-2005
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Which Island Packet?

Well, after 2000 miles of cruising and eight months of living aboard, I figure I owe it to the board to weigh in with the results. I purchased the Island Packet 40 in November, moved aboard, made her ready for sea, and set off for the islands. I''ve arrived in Venezuela where I''ll spend the hurricane season.

In short, the boat has been a delight. My fiance and I find her very well suited to living aboard in the tropics. With 13 opening ports and 7 hatches, she stays cool and breezy at anchor. Our master is very breezy when the trades are blowing normally, prompting me to reach for a light blanket during the night on occasion.

We''ve successfully avoided the worst of the weather and have generally enjoyed comfortable passages with little drama. There have been exceptions, such as the occasion where my timing was poor leaving an inlet in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas. I ended up going face first into a set of three monstrous breaking waves. The IP handled it very admirably. I wouldn''t have wanted any less size or horsepower on that occasion.

Performance wise, we''ve more than kept pace with the field of cruising boats we''ve sailed with. I''ve passed larger boats while sailing and been passed really only by performance catamarans.

Frankly, Beneteau, Sabre, Tartan, etc. are not well represented in the Caribbean cruising anchorages. We''ve met dozens of IP''s along the way, including three in this marina. All nice folks too, and all willing to help or extend an invitation for cocktails.

My experience does not reflect the stern warnings of some on this board against purchasing an Island Packet. I am not the least bit disappointed with the boat in any regard. In fact, perhaps there is some confusion with regard to the purpose and function of a cruising boat. For example, Jeff_H writes in his response: ". . .he also noted that it was a lot harder to keep the Island Packet up to speed (they were quick to lose speed but hard to get it back) than it was with the race boats that he owned and raced in his prior life." I''m sure this is true and comes as no surprise to me. A racing boat it''s not. A cruising boat, it is.

Cheers!
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