I am looking to buy a sailboat. I really like the Island Packet 32 and 31. Other owners say they are a little slow, somewhat costly, but very seaworthy. Is this a good first boat? We plan to cruise at least one month continuously on the Great Lakes each summer.
Sue & Larry respond:
Its never an easy decision to make when looking to buy a new boat. Its particularly difficult for all of us when its our first big boat. We often dont have a lot of experience with them from which to draw our own firm conclusions. This is when it becomes easy to start listening to what everyone else has to say about different models of boats. Unfortunately, thats when it can become dangerous also.
As far as seaworthiness is concerned, we do believe that Island Packet builds seaworthy boats. This past summer, while anchored in Bermuda, we saw several Island Packets that had made the trip over. We also saw many Hunters, Catalinas, Beneteaus, Tayanas, PDQs, Calibers, Morgans, Cape Dorys, Moodys, Gulfstars, Bavarias, Tartans, CSYs, Jeanneaus, C&Cs, and a couple of J/Boats. We think that for the type of sailing you describe, its not necessary to limit your search to Island Packets alone. There are plenty of other boats that may fit your needs as well, and some do cost considerably less. If you do decide on the Island Packet in the end, though, were sure youll be happy with your decision.
The boat we each eventually choose as our first "big boat" usually ends up being determined by a tangled mishmash of hard facts with a dose of emotion thrown in. Compromises in design or performance, the depth of our pocketbook, and tugs at the heart strings all come into play.
If you'd like to see what some current Island Packet owners have to say about their boats, join the e-mail discussion list at SailNet for that owners group. Just log on to the homepage and click on the option labeled "Join E-Mail Lists." It's located on the left-hand rail under "Members' Center." Clicking there will take you to an alphabetized index page where all you have to do is click on "I" for Island Packet. You'll have to be a registered SailNet member to do this, but attaining that status is a simple matter of filling out a form that takes about one minute and, best of all, it's free.
Good luck with your decision.