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conchcruzer 08-18-2004 07:19 AM

Which Island Packet?
I am getting ready to pull the trigger on a used Island Packet. I''m debating between two boats. Both are built in 1999, the prices are within 15k of each other, and both are well equipped.

The first is a 380 in Annapolis. The second is a 40 in Florida.

I intend to use the boat for two years of full time liveaboard cruising in the Bahamas and Caribbean. I will be sailing with my fiance and an occasional guest or two.

The 380 seems slightly more manageable for the two of us, yet the 40 offers more interior volume and additional waterline length. Also, the 380 has a standard 4''8" draft while the 40 has a rare 3''10" draft and no centerboard(with lead substituted for iron to maintain the same righting characteristic and COE).

Both boats are equipped with a diesel generator, A/C, etc. with the 40 having additional cruising gear such as a watermaker, more spare parts, etc. The cost of the 40 is about 15k higher than the 380, not a huge difference and manageable.

Will the shallow draft 40 suffer in windward performance? Which boat will have a higher resale in 4-5 years? The 380 has just been discontinued and is the more modern IP design with a swim platform, etc.

Any negative comments on our intended use of an Island Packet for this purpose?

All input is appreciated.


DanBarry 08-18-2004 08:03 PM

Which Island Packet?
The Island Packet is well designed for your needs. Large amounts of tankage and stowage are great aspects of these yachts. I suggest going with the 380 because of the advantages of more modern technology.
All in all I disagree with many peoples opinions of Island Packets. This yacht is meant to be sailed all over the world. The classic cutter rig and pretty lines make it an attractive yacht. The boat does not beat well into the wind, but if you were in the gulfstream when the elephants are marching, would you want to be beating into it. I think not. This boat shows it''s true colors off the wind. The Packet''s full keel design gives me great satisfaction not because of seaworthiness, but because there are no keel bolt failures to worry about. They make great yachts at Island Packet, no matter what the critics say. I think some people think it''s too much of a good thing, so they put them down. Good luck with whichever yacht you choose. Maybe I''ll spot you in the Caribbean.

Jeff_H 08-19-2004 04:43 AM

Which Island Packet?
A couple minor points just to keep this discussion ballanced, first of all not all fin keels are bolted on, so full keel or fin, you would not need to worry about keel bolt failures with an encapsulted keel. That said, you do need to worry about the much more common encapsulated membrane failure, and ballast to keel membrane failures. In general amoungst respected yacht designers, encapsulated keels are considered a cost savings measure that hurts the seaworthiness, longevity, and sailing ability of the boat.

I also need to ask Danny to explain why he seems to be more worried about keel bolt failures than he is about having a post hung spade rudder that is virtually the same depth as the keel. Generally accepted good design practice, expecially on a shallow draft boat and especially with a post hung spader rudder is to keep the draft of the rudder well above the depth of the keel to protect it from damage something that Island Packet has chosen not to do.

Full keels add nothing at all to the seaworthiness of a vessel. In fact, within the design community the greater drag of a full keel is seen as a liability when it comes to seaworthiness since it means that you need to carry greater sail area in heavier going to over come that increased drag. All of the more recent studies that I have read and attended design symposium on, point towards a set of desirable characteristics for an offshore boat that would include a comparatively narrow(within moderation) easily driven hull forms, with comparatively low drag foils (within moderation), comparatively low freeboard, comparatively small deck areas, and a comparatively high vertical center of buoyancy coupled with a low vertical center of gravity. In other words, pretty much the opposite of the design thinking behind an Island Packet.

"This boat shows it''s true colors off the wind." I agree with that except that Island Packets sail their best in a narrow range of wind speeds when reaching. They are miserable dead downwind and upwind. They do not do well in heavy going compared to more moderate designs with lower center of gravities, and they are useless as sail boats in light to moderate conditions. Distance cruising means being able to sail where you want to in a wide range of conditions. The alternative is either carrying a lot of fuel or not being able to go where you plan to go when the conditions don''t cooperate. While no one would want to be beating "in the Gulfstream when the elephants are marching" (or motoring into the Gulfstream "when the elephants are marching" for that matter), there are a lot of times when beating or close reaching is the only way to get somewhere other than aground or motoring.

While you may have met someone somewhere who put down Island Packets because "It''s too much of a good thing", most of us put them down because they sail poorly, and are poorly detailed.

All of that said, if for some reason the original poster still thinks that they need to buy an Island Packet rather than a boat designed to be a true offshore cruiser, I would agree with the suggestion regarding the 380, because the 3''10" draft on the 40 footer would take an already poor sailing boat and hurt its sailing ability further. I do think that the use of lead ballast is a major improvement over the iron in concrete ballast of early models.


Busdrver 08-19-2004 05:22 AM

Which Island Packet?
Forgive me for straying a bit off-topic here, but I gotta ask, there must be SOME advantage to a full keel, isn''t there?

A newbie.


DanBarry 08-19-2004 06:41 AM

Which Island Packet?
I believe the newer Island Packets have a new rudder design slightly shallower than the keel, being that one of the companies prides is having ultimate protection of the rudder during a grounding.
I believe that the older models such as the 380 and the 400 have post rudders, which I would express concern for. That would be very bad luck to damage a rudder on a voyage.
Now, when you say distance cruising means being able to sail where you want in a wide range of conditions, I don''t think you give the Packet enough respect. After all, cruising isn''t about getting there. If I had wanted to get somewhere I would have become a powerboater. If you hear the weather is not going to be in your favor, you sail to port. If you can''t sail to port, you weather it out. Back to sailing ability, you can still sail on any point of the wind (less closer than about 45 degrees which is uncomfortable anyway.) You may not go the same speed or point anywhere near as well as a moderate displacment fin keeled boat, but you will still do maybe 5 knots instead of 8.
All in all, I guess I am a sap for the classic full keel. It just gives me a better sense of security. I respect your opinion also Jeff, being that you are a naval architect. You do have years of experience. I''m glad that you agreed with me on part of my letter. If the poster believes he wants an Island Packet, he is choosing the right boat of the two in the 380.

Jeff_H 08-19-2004 08:48 AM

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.


jbanta 08-19-2004 09:54 AM

Which Island Packet?
Like alot of other times jeff You are agreeing withiout actually being agreeable. You and I and every other sailor knows what was being said. We sail to sail. getting there safely is part of the sail. The destination is wonderful and there is a special thrill to landfall. Still we could could have gone into power boating or flying small aircraft but no we sail and eo safely sail is the Paramount reason for cruising the distination is secondary.

conchcruzer 08-19-2004 01:18 PM

Which Island Packet?
Thanks to all for the favor of a reply.

Maybe I can explain my reasoning for selecting the Island Packet and offer that up for criticism.

My original dream boat was the 42'' Catalina. I saw one at the Dallas boat show and said "this is it." Being less of a fool than I might sound, I started a process of research. My most recent experience was on a Morgan 41'' Out Island from the mid 80''s. Having made several trips from Florida to the Bahamas, I felt comfortable with this size of boat.

I started to research and examine all the boats in that category. I looked at construction, design, quality, price, layout, etc. I spent many months reading message boards and owner email lists, talked to owners, talked to brokers, walked the docks, inspected boats, etc. In other words, I did my homework the best I could.

I wasn''t immediately impressed by the Island Packets. After talking to some owners, I became intrigued. After further discussions, my interest grew tremendously.

I then compared the boat to designs of similar purpose and vintage. I looked at boats that had the capacities and load carrying abilities that I would need for cruising. I compared the IP to Caliber, Valiant, Tartan, Sabre, and other production yachts of modern vintage and high reputation. That being said, if I could afford a 42'' Valiant, my search might have been easier!

I liked the Caliber 40 LRC and respect its tremendous tankage and seemingly sound design. The 40'' Valiant is also a fine boat. I also inspected the 37'' Pacific Seacraft, 38'' Cabo Rico, and others. In the end, the design, layout, finish, and construction of the Island Packet impressed me most. I have not yet spoken to or heard of an owner that was disappointed in the boat. Many owners seem to sell when it''s time to move ashore, trade up to a bigger IP, or retire to the (sorry) trawler.

The IP 380, for example, carries twice the fuel and water of comparable sized boats. The fuel, water, and holding tanks are below the sole, not underneath bunks or settees. This makes them hard to remove, I understand, but very practical in terms of how to use the interior volume for machinery and accommodation.

The problems cited by one poster are upwind performance and potential for rudder damage. The enhancements made to the keel appear to be a partial resolution to the poor upwind performance. I won''t expect my IP to point like a deep fin club racer. Is this a deal breaker? Not to me, but I enjoy hearing others opinions. As far as rudder damage, I feel better about the post hung rudder with the shoe than the post hung spade rudders. The shoe will hopefully keep crab pot lines and warps out of the prop. Again, I don''t expect it to hold up to pounding on rock or coral, but I don''t think I will have problems or failures in softer grounding situations. The rack and pinion steering mechanism seems to be robust and well designed. The mechanical and electrical systems installations show high quality in material and workmanship.

My cruising life will be 10-15% underway and 85-90% living on the hook. If someone has a suggestion for a better boat to do that with, I am open to ideas and critical comments.


sailingfool 08-19-2004 01:52 PM

Which Island Packet?
54 Attachment(s)
My suggestions is a trawler(sorry).

Why accept the space limitations of a sailboat in return for a boat that doesn''t sail very well??? Buy the trawler, get some room and fully enjoy that hook time - with an IP you can''t really enjoy either fully.

Consider the following PHRF-NE ratings:
IP 380 186
Tartan 3800 114
The IP can only be described as a dog (although I''m inconsistent here as I recently called the W32 a pig). Recognize these numbers show how slow the IP is in average winds, when it at least moves. Under ten MPH true you probably need to operate it as a power boat, when a performance-sensible design like a Tartan could still get you there under sail, perhaps even earlier.
If you''re sacraficing sailing performance, why put up witht the attendant shortcomings of a sailboat - get the trawler - your hours of powering will be much more relaxing versus the racket of an IP aux...
Good luck.

conchcruzer 08-19-2004 03:50 PM

Which Island Packet?
Wow, that is a substantial difference. If I understand PHRF correctly, that''s an estimated difference of 72 seconds per nautical mile. Now I know it is going to depend on wind speed, point of sail, trim, sail condition, etc., but lets just say it is a straight up avg. difference of 72 seconds per mile.

On a 100 mile trip, say a short passage from island to island, that is 7200 seconds, or 120 minutes, or 2 hours. So, if I leave the dock and set off on a 100 mile trip, I should arrive 2 full hours after the Tartan. Is that right? That is significant in that It might mean arriving after dark vs. long before dark. I see the point here.

As far as trawlers, I like them alot. I prefer to sail and I prefer the sea keeping ability of a ballasted keel. I have considered trawlers, but never seriously. The lack of fuel economy is also a drag. I know some do fairly well at or near hull speed if they have small diesels, so I recognize and have considered that.

I appreciate the PHRF comparison, that is interesting and something I will seriously consider.

Thank you,

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