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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning on purchasing a boat next Spring, and while I am still very open minded about what I will end up with, I believe that my top two choices are the Island Packet 27 and the Orion. My budget, for the boat itself, is $38,000. These are both "large" 27 footers, well built and are bluewater capable. I would be interested to hear what you folks, who are certainly more knowledgeable than myself, have to say about them.

Is one more "livable" than the other? My girlfriend and small dog will liveaboard as well so any extra storage space would be appreciated. And, yes I know that it is crazy to have a couple and a dog on a 27-footer, but that is what our budget entails and I know we will be able to handle it. Is there much of a difference in the quality of construction between the two boats? Any common design flaws with either boat? If my inboard was to eventually poop out, is it possible to install a large outboard on either boat? Any light you could shed on this decision would be helpful.

I am leaning toward the IP for a few reasons: there are a lot more available and I could likely get a better deal, I might be able to save on shipping if I can buy one close enough to home (Chicago) to sail it back, the IP uses Polycore decks which are more resisant to rot than the Orion's, and IP is still in business which may be helpful if I ever need parts. With that being said, the Orion looks more beautiful to me.

I am a long way off from the purchase, but I want to be as informed as possible before making this huge decision. Thank you for your help. Safe sailing.

-Jake
 

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Both are good boats, buy the one the two of you fall in love with. Don't worry about whether the manufacturer is still in business - some of the best boats ever built are no longer in production and any parts you need are available from dozens of sources.
 

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...I am leaning toward the IP for a few reasons: there are a lot more available and I could likely get a better deal, I might be able to save on shipping if I can buy one close enough to home (Chicago) to sail it back, the IP uses Polycore decks which are more resisant to rot than the Orion's, and IP is still in business which may be helpful if I ever need parts. With that being said, the Orion looks more beautiful to me...
I think you will find a bit more cabin space (though not necessarily more hull volume) in the IP27 than the Orion 27, but the Orion is probably a better all-around sailor.

The Orion has different interior configurations, so you'd have to figure out which interior you prefer. Also, there are Mark 1 and Mark 2 versions of the Orion, with the MArk 2 having a longer coachroof, two deck hatches, and an extra set of portlights -- all nice features.

In case it makes any difference, two observations about your note above: (1) I was told that the decks of the Orion are solid glass (the raised coachroof having plywood core), and (2) Pacific Seacraft was purchased out of bankruptcy and continues in business.
 

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SouthernComfort
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Pacific Seacraft is still around. They were bought and moved to North Carolina. Still strong, making the same boats.
 

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The IP 27 has significantly more interior volume due to its extremely wide beam. More so than more modern IP designs, the 27 is essentially a catboat with a wide beam carried all the way aft.

For liveability, the IP is the clear winner. For sailing performance and offshore ability, the Orion is an equally clear winner with its moderate beam, tapered ends, and deeper draft. In my opinion, PS is clear step up from IP in build quality. I also agree that the Orion is the better looking boat.

For me, I'd take the Orion in a heartbeat, but if interior space is the deciding factor, it should be an equally easy call in favor of the IP, which has the interior volume of a much larger boat.
 

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If you put a greater value on accommodations you should go for the IP. Thery are also very solidly built. But even the much bigger ones are SLOW so if you are looking for better sailing characteristics you might want to go for the ORION.

EDIT Just looked up their PHRF ratings and they are virtually identical, so maybe you ought to wait to hear from someone who has actually sailed both boats.
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Good taste in boats. I admire both and have researched them each fairly extensively.

Some will argue that IP27 has a cockpit that is a bit too large for serious offshore work. And indeed, she wasn't necessarily designed as a bluewater boat (IP26 roots). However, her beam gives her a roomy look inside but on closer inspection you'll find a smallish galley and somewhat cramped v-berth. I'm not sure the Orion is a better sailing boat. Consider that the IP has 2,000 lbs less displacement and almost 2 feet more of waterline length. Also, don't forget the IP27 is available in a centerboard version which saves you 1 foot of draft and a bit of drag for downwind runs.

The Orion is perhaps built to a slightly higher standard. She was also designed as a bluewater pocket cruiser. The Orion easily trumps the IP in tankage with 25 gallons of fuel vs. 19 and 70 gallons water versus 31. This makes a difference if you plan to undertake any long passages. All of the Orions with the "A" plan interior (most common) that I've seen have a cramped quarterberth when compared to the IP, but this might not matter if it's just you, your girl and your dog. I think the Orion was also offered as a ketch, but you'll have a difficult time finding one for sale. The Orion also will likely be a bit harder to find and a bit more costly.

If I was choosing, I'd take the Orion. I like knowing she's a PSC and that she's all about bluewater. I also think she's a prettier boat. However, I don't think you can really go wrong with either. You said you're in Chicago, so does that mean you intend to sail the boat mostly on the Great Lakes? If so, the Orion's slight bluewater advantage might not matter nearly as much. And if the Great Lakes are the home waters, I'd suggest making sure you get the cutter rig for either boat to deal with the light summer airs that are so common on Lake Michigan.

Lastly, you may also consider the following as comparable boats:

Shannon 28: More expensive than either the IP or PSC, but very nicely finished boat with an aft head and perfect layout for a couple.

Nor'Sea 27: Again, nicely finished. She's also trailerable and available as a centercockpit.

Westsail 28: Heavily built and maybe the best 27-28 foot bluewater boat available.

Com Pac 27: Very similar to the IP27 (Bob Johnson influence) but without the quarterberth. Perhaps a bit more affordable too.

SeaSprite 27/28: Beautiful Luders design with longish overhangs.
 

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Telstar 28
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I'd add the Southern Cross 28, and the Elizabethan 29 to the list as well.
 

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I'll second the Shannon 28. Might be harder to find at the price you are looking for, but it is, in my opinion, the best cruising boat under 30 feet. Beautifully crafted interior, and extremely well designed for cruising. Two good sea berths, the head is in the middle of the boat where it belongs, the galley is exceptionally well designed. Sails great on all points of sail. Balanced helm. Heaves to easily. Just a fantastic boat!

The 28 also had the same layup schedule as the 38, which itself is built like a tank. With the hull thickness of the 38 in a much smaller boat, the 28 is pretty much indestructible. I know a couple that have sailed the world in their 28 for nearly 20 years and still glow with pride when talking about her. Shannon is still in business and, from what I've heard, is a pleasure to work with.
 

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With a $38K budget, I don't see why you have to limit yourself to 28'. There are lots of good bluewater boats out there in that price range with more living space. How about something like this ...

Yacht Search
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your well thought replies. The point of limiting myself to a smaller boat is a good one. I want to be able to keep my boat on a mooring in Chicago, and if the LOA is under 30'6" I will have a much easier time accomplishing this. If I get a bigger boat I will need to harbor it in a marina far away which I would prefer not to do.

As far as where I plan to cruise it, the first two years will be on Lake Michigan, but after that we will be moving to the Caribbean, Roatan specifically. When my dog passes, which will probably be at least 10 years, we plan to go around the world.

Again, thanks for the replies. You have given me a lot to think about.

-Jake
 

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IPY v PS

I have a 27 IPY. There are some differences I will list below
1) D/L is 2.885 for the IPY and 3.34 for the PS. Below 3 is considered "beamy" and 3.3 to 3.65 is considered "moderate beam".

2) SA/D - sort of the horsepower of the boat (sail area to displacement)
IPY cutter rig is 16.2, PS cutter rig is 17.5. 16 - 18 is ave for cruisers.

3) B/D - Ballast to displacement ratio - pretty close for the two. .375 for the IPY and .35 for the PS.

Price - the price you list is in the IPY range for sure or so it is in my area. The Orions sell for an ave of 58 to 65k in my area. This is one thing that led me to the IPY 27. Also the extra beaminess means more room inside. It is a "big" 27 inside. And from experience it is nice that IPY is in business. A quick call or email and you get anything you need. They are great folks at the factory.
 

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I have sailed on an Orion and also on IP 27 and if I were heading out there is no doubt that the Orion would be my choice. If I were going to live in at a dock with occ short trips then the IP. The Orion is one really fine sailoing vessel and a joy to sail.
 

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It's great to read all the glowing comments about the Orion. My parents have pictures of a weeks-old me aboard the '79 Orion that they had. The boat has a yawl rig and is now on the Chesapeake, I believe. That hull holds lots of stories.
 

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I currently own and sail a 1980 Orion 27. I spent 2 years looking for that specific model, and also considered other Island Packet models prior to deciding on the Pacific Seacraft. I truly love sailing her, and feel very safe and comfortable on her. She is a heavy sailboat, and needs a good strong breeze to get up to hull speed, but she is solid as a rock and very rugged. She is beautiful as well, and people stop by everytime I am at the slip asking about her. Both boats are solid boats, but I picked the Pacific Seacraft over the Island Packet.
 

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Orion.......Bias

..... I want to be able to keep my boat on a mooring in Chicago, and if the LOA is under 30'6" I will have a much easier time accomplishing this. If I get a bigger boat I will need to harbor it in a marina far away which I would prefer not to do.

As far as where I plan to cruise it, the first two years will be on Lake Michigan, but after that we will be moving to the Caribbean, Roatan specifically. When my dog passes, which will probably be at least 10 years, we plan to go around the world.

Again, thanks for the replies. You have given me a lot to think about.

-Jake
FYI, The Orion has an LOA of 30'11", gotta include the bowsprit.

I love my Orion (1983 Mk2 "C" plan) and have lived aboard her (no longer though, back on dirt now). She sails sweet, even more so now that i got her a new suit of sails this year:). She has pleanty of room for me to live aboard, but me the girlfriend and chihuahua can start to get alittle cramped after a few days out. That will be your problem with any of your choices under 30'. The Orion has a ton of water tankage for her size. Engine access on the Orion is fantastic with the removable cockpit sole. You could use the boom to crane the engine out if you wanted to. For alot of boats, it wouldn't be so simple.

As far as sailing to the Caribbean and beyond, I can't say for the IP27, but there was one man from Block Island that solo circumnavigated his Orion.

As far as the pretty boat stuff goes, I get my fair share of winks and nods. At anchor, other dingys slow down to take a look and some stop by altogether and ask about her. I've been hailed on 16 by much larger, very pretty boats just to tell me how good she looks.

All the boats mentioned have plus and minuses, but with every one of them concessions will have to be made (she'll have to lose the shoe inventory and no golf clubs for you). So, get on as many of these boats as you can an go with what YOU AND YOUR MATE like/love. No matter what you like if shes not into it too, she probably won't go along with the plan. Also, no matter what a bunch of guys on a forum say, its going to be YOUR boat.....choose wisely.
 

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Charted an IP 27 out of Anacortes.
The beige color gelcoat was too hot to sit on when it had been in the sun. It was also too hot for bare feet.
If it is that hot north of Seattle how would it be in the Caribbean?
 
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