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Old 04-09-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

Can some of you folks please help me (again), this time to compare the Sabre 30 (MK II 1983-85 or MK III 1986-93) or Sabre 32 (1983-87) with the Island Packet 31 (1984-89)? Use would be for Great Lakes cruising and daysailing.

I realize that key differences include the IP''s full keel with cutaway forefoot versus the Sabre''s fin keel (S-32 may have centerboard), and the IP''s cutter rig versus the Sabre''s sloop rig. With my only experience being aboard sloop-rigged fin-keelers, I am particularly interested in the ramifications of these differences.

Any comments or info would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-09-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

With all due respect, if you are coming down to a choice between these two boats you need to define your goals for the boat much more explicitly as these are two very different boats.

The Island Packet is design crams as much as room into a short length boat as possible. All else (sailing ability, motion comfort, ease of handling, speed) is compromised to accomplish this. These boats are a pain in the butt to sail in changeable conditions or when you need to tack particularly often. They do not tack reliably in a breeze. They are miserable in a chop, hobby horsing and colliding with each wave upwind and rolling miserably off the wind. They are useless as sailboats in light to moderate conditions and are not very good in heavy air. Their post hung rudders which are as deep as their keels are highly vulnerable to damage. These are low tech boats that make sense if you are looking for a short iveaboard boat and are not concerned with sailing ability or the amount of time spent motoring.

The Sabre 32 represents almost the opposite end of the spectrum. While they offer reasonable accomodations, they are designed to be good sailing boats and a seaworthy hull form so some interior volume has been compromised. Sabre''s engineering is of reasonably sophisticated and well throught through. These are comparatively easy boats to sail offering reasonably good performance and good manners. The finish levels in the Sabre are generally nicer than the stock IP finishes of that era. Sabre 32''s also have post hung spade rudders but they are shallower than the keel and so less vulnerable to damage in a grounding. These are boats that sail well and are fun to sail. They are easily handled and perform well in a wide range of windspeeds. They offered excellent hardware and reasonably good deck plans.

I guess the first step here is for your to figure out what you want out of a boat, and then the answer will be more obvious.
Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 04-09-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

Thanks for weighing-in, Jeff. (I was hoping you would!)

I do know what I want in a boat and your counsel confirms that I won''t get it in an IP. Therefore, I will remain with my pursuit of sloop-rigged fin-keelers esp. Sabres, where I have been all along (except for this short-lived deviation about the IP31.)

Although this conclusion does not surprise me, I must say that I am somewhat surprised by the extent of your criticism of the IP. I guess I was prepared to hear, say, poor upwind or poor in light air - but not the across-the-board thumbs-down you seem to give it. Notwithstanding that IP has sold a fairly significant number of "quality" boats, your comments make me wonder: Who, then, would be a good fit for an IP? (Don''t get me wrong, I am not trying to defend the IP, I''m just curious).

And thanks again for helping me out and for your many other contributions to this site.
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Old 04-09-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

If you build a big, heavy, strong box, put thick rubrails on it, undercanvas it so it won''t "tip" too much if it ever leaves the dock, and make it really comfy inside, a lot of people will buy one for the same reason they get 40'' RV''s with roll-out astroturf, picket fences and signs to hang on the door that say "Hi, we''re Fred and Mabel from NE Podunk, SD. Let us tell you about our grandkids!"
Doesn''t make them fun to drive, and to really enjoy them you need to be hooked up in a parking lot along with all the other similar rigs. I''d prefer to be sailing or swinigng on my own anchor in a cove somewhere, in a boat I knew would be able to beat 500 miles home if it had to.
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Old 04-10-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

Got it. That''s definitely not me. I like to SAIL.
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Old 04-11-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

The success of Island Packet may be linked to the way people are coming into the sport now. My hunch is in the past many sailors grew up sailing dinghies and small keelboats, and then graduated to larger boats. Now it seems many people come into the sport as adults, without much small boat background. They are understandably concerned about issues like safety and Island Packet does a great job addressing their concerns. IP stresses stability, strength, tracking ability and so forth. They know their market. Many of these owners would be better served with a handier vessel. Hopefully over time they get to try other well-built boats that sail well, and come to appreciate the pleasure of a good sailing boat.

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Old 05-14-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

I currently own a Sabre 30 and have raced and cruised in it for about 8 years. I owned a Cape Dory 27 previously (with a full keel & cutaway forfoot). I loved my Cape Dory, as it sailed well and was sure-footed in a blow. It was not a fast boat however, but was built like a tank. When I was looking for a larger and faster boat, I found out very soon that the caliber of construction used in the Cape Dory was not commonly used in production boats. The Sabre, it turned out met or exceeded my desires. The main difference was that it was in speed and workmanship. It also has some beautiful lines, although of a more modern style. I sail my Sabre on Lake Huron, race with the HYC (frequently single-handed) and have cruised the North Channel numerous times. The Sabre 30 will get you there quickly in style in comfort, and you can relax in a blow. A closing note - I will be retiring soon and "Paramour" is currently for sale.
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Old 05-14-2004
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Sabre v Island Packet

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