Wow Brian, that's a comprehensive breakdown of the Blue Jacket. While I obviously haven't sailed one myself (no one has!) and it is not necessarily my kind of boat, I do feel obliged to take a shot a few of your critiques.
"Where do you put the chartplotter?" - How about on the steering pedestals like many other cruising boats? This puts the screen within easy reach and view of the helmsmen.
Putting the chartplotter on the pedestal is about the only place you can put it unless on the cabintop. However, what happens when you are at the other wheel? Or do you put two charplotters up there? When steering down a unfamiliar waterway, or watching the radar, you are put behind only one wheel. And does the leads from the lazarette and chain have runs for that much cabeling? THat is why many boats have a combo table in the middle of the cockpit. Other than acting as a table, you can use it as a foot rest and put your CP/Radar there. Let me point out another real problem with mounting the CP's there: when under way at sea for long periods of time, you stretch out along the seats in the cockpit. When you have a CP that is behind where you stretch out, you cannot see the radar or the CP. to see them requires getting up and standing behind the wheel. In this case, only one of the wheels even.
I am not saying you cannot make this work on the Bluejacket. I am saying it is not ideal and is a turnoff for cruising.
What I do like on a lot of race boats is the LACK of a table. It allows the crew to run a tack or jibe quickly without dodging the table in the middle. You can even have the same person blow the sheets and pull in the other. I can do this (and do have to do this) on my boat, but it is a real pita especially when it is howling. Some boats, a B49/50 I saw, have a removeable table for that purpose. But this is a Performance Cruiser, not a racer. Right? If we are talking about a straight racer, this is a different discussion.
"The stern seats are not angled, and it does not look like the coamings are either." - The seat bottoms look angled, which would keep you held back against the coaming.
The seats FORWARD of the wheels are likely angled in, but having a place to put your feet when rolling at sea is a HUGE plus. Otherwise, you end up having to hang on to the coaming or other gear which gets very tiring. In order to counteract 15-20 degrees of heel (not to mention the rolls), you would have to have at least that or more on the seats forward of the helms. Propping your feet against something to keep from sliding out is a great benefit.
Now, the seats behind
the helms show zero angling nor do the coaming beside them. Or course, this has a great cosmetic look to it and gives the boats pretty lines (think Hunter 460), but at sea, the man behind the wheel will always be standing up or slipping off the seats. Look at the drawings/renderings behind the wheel. Both the coamings and seats are flat - very like the Hunter and some of the Jeauneaus that have come out. That is terrible for long distance stuff, but sure looks pretty at the boat show.
"A three cabin boat under 40 feet is rediculous. I suspect that the third cabin is a converted workshop... at least I hope so." - Per the literature from BJ: An optional interior plan may be selected with two cabins in lieu of the standard plan’s three. This arrangement deletes the enclosed starboard aft cabin, extends the galley counter, cabinetry and slip resistant sole and creates a large cockpit locker that’s accessible from either the interior or deck. And let's not forget that the C400 was also available w/ a 3-cabin layout.
The LOA on the C400 is actually over 40 feet (just don't tell the marina). I think it is around 41.3 feet... don't remember for sure. It is true that the C400 was offered in 3 cabin versions. It is also true they didn't sell very many of them. I realize there may only be a couple of 2-3 feet difference between the boats, and I realize the BJ has a plumb bow and skinny transom, but her beam is also pretty skinny. Adding that into the above would make for a tight three cabin boat. I am not surprised that the third cabin can be a workshop. That was my immediate thought too which was why I wrote that.
"Curved settees on a "offshore" boat? Really? Where do you sleep off watch???" - You don't think the port settee would serve as a seaberth w/ some lee cloths installed? Hard to say without knowing the actual dimensions.
The salon setttes are curved. Salon settees should be straight for sea berths. THe C42 also has curved settees, and that is a real drawback in my opinion and was one of the principle reasons we didn't buy one (the C42 was even cheaper). Having a straight settee that you can lay across and get some sleep without having to make some contortion to fit the curve of the settees is critical for me. Those that don't mind sleeping cockeyed, different story. But there is a reason most offshore boats have straight settes or a dedicated sea berth down below.
"...but if your draft is 5'2, you have to really put a lot of lead in that keel. If not, you will have a seriously tender boat (and you may anyways) and tender boats SUCK for cruising." - Shoal draft version is 5'2", deep draft version is 7'5". The b/d ratio for the BJ40 is .369, while the C400 is a very similar .365 (both deep draft versions). If you believe b/d is a strong indicator of stiffness, these two boats would be similar.
"I think I would take that boat back to the drawing board." - Wow, that's a bold statement considering literally no one has sailed or stepped foot aboard this boat yet. Let's at least wait for the introduction at Strictly Sail Chicago in January. I'll be there to take some photos and give a better first hand impression, but until then I'm reserving judgement.
The C400 is one of the stiffest boat I have ever been on. But remember, my shoal draft is 6 feet. it is NOT the listed 5'4. So how do you compensate for that leverage difference? Its not just displacement, it is the keel acting as a lever to overcome the force. Can you do that in 5'2? I guess. But how much lead will you have to put in that keel to do it? If you don't have the same draft, but the same lead in the keel, won't that boat be more tender? Well no, not if you make it very flat on the bottom (hard chimed). Catalina changed the C400's around HN 317 to accomodate that shallower draft which was in the specs. THe did it by making the bilge a lot skinnier which I think was a mistake.
I might be wrong in all of the above. We won't know until she has a sea trial and a one-one comparrison can be made. I am making a lot of assumptions based upon what I see in the specs and rendering. But there's no free lunchs on boats. Everything has tradeoffs. Otherwise, everyone would make a 5 foot draft boat that had a deep bilge, was fast, sure footed, and cheap. Finding the right balance is what is critical. My balance may be very different from others.
Fun discussing this stuff. I am sure others will have a very different opinion of mine. I guess my opinion for Jakcet/IP is that if you are going to break into a market that already has a lot of good performance boats in it, come out with a boat that is considerably better. Make it really good at one aspect or the other and those who buy it will overlook the shortcomings. But in my opinion, especially in this market, you have to really knock the socks off of the competition to carve a name and niche for yourself. Instead, I see this boat as a "nahh, well, (shrug-shrug), ok I guess."
Are you going to sell a lot of boats doing that? THat is especially true with what I see are critical deficiencies from MY Perspective. Others may not care about any of that.