I am not going to armchair QB these guys... I wasn't there at the time in those conditions. I'll leave it at that. Somewhere in the reading that I did, I picked up that these guys were getting paid $7K for the delivery, and that the owner is supportive of their efforts, and decision to ditch.
Island Packet DOES build SOME bluewater boats. However the SP Cruiser ain't one of 'em.
Essentially the SP cruiser is a trawler with a bigger mast and a sail;
These were introduced in 2008, and seem to be targeted at the crowd that can't decide if they want a sailboat, or a trawler (or a Winnebago). 41' LOA and 3' 8" draft, with 110HP diesel.
Not my cup of tea, but Island Packet seems to be selling a bunch of them. Prices in YW range from $300K to $625K.
I think they are kind of cool.
So, then... can we presume that the actual ability to Sail
may not top the list of priorities you'd have in the selection of a boat? (grin)
Still, one has to admire Alvah Simon's diplomacy in characterizing the SP Cruiser's hybrid nature in his review in CRUISING WORLD:
The SP wasn't designed to sail to windward, and it didn't perform well on this point of sail, as the 714 square feet of sail area couldn't compensate for the substantial weight and windage. The sail plan, however, does add stability, distance, and redundancy to the boat's motoring range.
It's been my experience that, generally, powerboats tend not to function very well as sailing craft... And, the SP Cruiser is, first and foremost, a powerboat... IP also sells them without the rig, calling them a PY Cruiser, enough of a powerboat to be reviewed in POWER & MOTORYACHT magazine...
Island Packet PY 41
I found this little tidbit at the close of the review particularly interesting... Sounds like IP has their finger on the pulse of the future of sailing, alright:
The PY Cruiser is not the only highly efficient vessel Island Packet's recently put on the market. There's also the SP (Sail Power) Cruiser, a sloop-rigged vessel that's virtually the same as the PY in terms of layout, design, and horsepower as well as speed and fuel burn under power. But the SP also sails almost effortlessly. Say you're chugging along and decide to nix the Yanmar and switch to wind power. Simply round up into the breeze, leave the helm for the cockpit momentarily, load the lines into the Lewmar electric winch, and then return to the helm to tweak arrangements with push buttons as you proceed. Could there be anything as easy—and as fuel efficient—as fully electric sail controls? Well, yeah. According to Island Packet, the company will introduce a version of the SP Cruiser within a year or so that will virtually sail herself. Thanks to constant digital input from a wind indicator at the top of the mast as well as some serious computer firepower, the boat will electrically operate her own winches, trim her own sheets, perhaps even decide when to tack based on course information arriving via GPS. All you'll have to do is steer!
Still, hard to imagine a less suitable vessel for being outside of Hatteras when the view from space looks like this:
On a 'sailboat' with that sort of windage, and a Ballast/Displacement Ratio of TWENTY-FOUR Percent
Not to mention, that jacuzzi-style cockpit behind the mast, above deck level? Bet that sucker could capture a significant amount of water in heavy weather, and the only real means of evacuating it quickly would be to 'spill' it out under an extreme angle of heel...