In looking for our cruising boat we keep coming back to the Island Packet for its build quality and seaworthiness. A friend who has his Hylas 44 in Antigua when not sailing insists that the IP is not the boat for us,"doesn't sail to wind well, isn't fast, (who cares) handles poorly, etc." anyone with other views?

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I think you should know, your friends an asshole.

We looked long and hard for our retirement boat and while we didn't end up with an IP it did make the final 2. We were looking for something in the 40 foot range. The IP 38 (not the 380) really fit the list of things we wanted in a cruising boat. We're from the east coast so we wanted a shallow draft, most IP's are under 5 feet. A short stick for ICW bridges, which again the IP met nicely. The storage on that boat was unbelievable, especially for a 38 footer.

The cutter rig is a handy sail plan, the steering system is simplicity itself, the rudder is skeg hung, Yanmar engine, they're built solidly and they're still in business.

If you're "sailing to windward", you did a shit job of picking your window, thats not the boats fault. Besides, one boat can do 40 degrees off the wind and the IP can only do 45, so what. If you're really going to cruise then you're going to be raising the waterline because you're so overloaded with spares and provisions, nobodies fast when truly loaded for cruising. Most traditional cruising boats don't back up smartly or handle well in tight quarters. Learning to handle your boat is more important than how your boat handles. <~ That might be the smartest thing I've ever said. Consider the breeze, the current, prop walk and warping and you'd be amazed at what you can do, a bow thruster never hurt anyone either.

Check any cruiser staging area like Vero Beach or Annapolis and you'll see 20 IP's for every Hylas. The Hylas is a fine sailboat but the IP is a well built, seaworthy cruising home.

s/v Veranda
Thank you for the insight. Sometimes my friend is just that. He has tons more sailing experience that either my wife or I so we do listen often to his advice. But, we toured the IP shipyard this March and were very impressed. We finally sailed on an IP last week (the Estero) and I was so impressed at the ease of handling and "comfort" of the boat while under way that IP has my heart at the moment. We'll see as we close in on choosing the right boat, economics will also play a role in the choice and IP seem to hold their value well, maybe too well for us. But I agree with you, it seems like a great sea home that would take care of us if need be and one we could trust to behave in a safe consistent manner under a wide variety of conditions. Again thanks for the input.
I just don't get Island Packets.

They are so expensive! I guess it comes down to what you want to do with it. We like spacious interiors with at least an extra cabin with privacy for guests, large cockpits to lounge on and entertain and a light displacement that gets us moving with the slightest breeze (which is a lot more fun than motoring or waiting for stronger winds).

And we don't mind a bit of discomfort offshore. Hell, no boat is perfectly comfortable in 15ft seas! Think of it this way: If you're at the point of relying on the IP´s incremental seaworthiness vs a light displacement production boat "you did a shit job of picking your window", to quote Veranda. :)

We crossed the Atlantic W-E on a Beneteau. There was lots of unavoidable windward sailing on that route and 5 degrees may not sound like a lot but when you are sailing over 100 miles a day the difference adds up fast. We didn't feel unsafe for a second. Yes, an IP would have been more stable the 10% of time we spent sailing in blue water. But nothing beats our Beneteau for the other 90% of time, consisting of living aboard, sitting at anchor, swimming off the open stern...

And all that for a fraction of the cost of an IP the same size!

I just don't get it. Sorry...
Thanks for the input. Interesting that the first three replies were all different. No one as of yet has taken the side of the expensiive higher performance low production boat (Hylas, Oyster, etc). Having sailed on Beneteaus with the Moorings quite a few times I am familiar with this companies product somewhat. Foot for foot the cockpit does not seem bigger or comfortable than the IP I have been on but it is certainly less expensive, and anyone who doesn't have to take economics into the picture I am jealous of, cost vs benefit is precisely what this forum is about. The extremes of sailing, ie bobbing and baking vs rail in water are also just that the extremes. The questions are, is a high production boat vs the spendy fancy fast boat vs the middle cost IP non-racer, which is most suitable for cruising couple? No boat can do it all (I guess if money were no object I might find out differently) and the pros and cons of each can be debated here (I hope). Then there is the multihull group if we really want to stir the pot. Interestingly no IP owner has weighed in on the subject yet. The perception that the IP is not a good windward boat hasn't been addressed by someone who has crossed the the Gulf Stream or beat upwind from the windwards to the leewards. I have spoken with one couple who were very happy with their IP 380 doing that as well as sailing thru the canal W-E w/o any problems. I hope that more will weigh in on this, boat lovers defending their choice in cruising home is exactly where I hope this goes and gets to the heart of why and how we all choose our sailboat/home. This will help me and others I suspect, in choosing their own vessel when the day comes. Thanks for the input all, keep it up.
I am in the same situation. I am now looking for my retirement boat too. While IP's are not on my list due to cost factor, and some design traits that I am not happy with, they are well built boats. If one is looking for an IP I would gain some knowledge on the different designs. Bob Johnson is the only builder that changes the hull and interior a lot. I know the hull changed sometime in the early 2000's to a more efficient design due to the complaints mention above about sailing to windward. All the IP owners that I have come across like their boats.


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