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Old 11-06-2011, 03:25   #1
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Island Packet 31 for Six Months in the Caribbean ?

Okay, we took the next step. Our Catalina 28 has sold! Talk about the best day and the worst day...We loved her and she taught us a lot, but if we are going to do the trip we have been dreaming of, we had to sell her.

The basic plan is to leave the Chesapeake in the fall of 2012 for a six month trip to the Caribbean. We are a family of three including what will be our seven year old son. The budget for the boat is in the $60K range as we are putting our shore lives (but not most of the expenses) on hold and not selling the farm.

I have spent many hours looking at potential boats. Seven months in Afghanistan will give you that opportunity... The usual suspects that keep coming up in my search include the IP 31, Catalina 320, 34 and the Tartans 31,34,37. There are many others of course, but these end up on my personal list most often.

I like the IP 31 for its quality reputation, seaworthiness, support and relatively large livability in a small manageable size. It seems like a good compromise on a variety of measures. On the down side, it is pretty small for a six month home. Also, its size and design draws a fair amount of criticism for being slow.

On our Catalina 28, the living space per se wasn't a problem. We are only three. On trips of a week or more, it was more storage, refrigeration and tankage capacity that we longed for. Having said that, six months is a different kettle of fish when compared to a couple of weeks...

Have any of you done extended cruising in the Caribbean on an IP 31 or any of the other candidates I've mentioned? I'd love to hear some first hand experience.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:11   #2
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

31 seems small for this cruise, but it really depends on your own personal preferences -- and a lot of other factors, such as how well you all get along and how much stuff you need to bring. I've seen people do it in smaller boats. Few years back there was a young couple with two kids in a Cal 25 that did a circumnavigation.

Also, six months in the Caribbean tends to go by quickly. One consideration is everyone's tolerance levels for being cooped up, especially getting there and coming back. Children especially sometimes need to get off the boat and go explore, and that seems to compensate for close living. Good luck.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:36   #3
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

Any of the boats you listed would be fine for 6 months in the islands. I'm trying to get down-island this year or next on my IP35 with my girlfriend and her two boys, ages 6 and 11. I feel like my 35 is just roomy enough for this, and I would think that the IP31 would be roomy enough for you three. Good luck with your search.

Oh, also... everyone always knocks IP's for being slow. They're not that slow. My 35 has a hull speed of 8kts, and regularly sails at 6.5-7.5kts.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:38   #4
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

consider buying a boat that is already down there. the passage south can be pretty rough and a 7 year old would be far happier (and likely everyone else too) starting the cruise in a beautiful island rather than dealing with November weather in the North Atlantic.
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Old 11-06-2011, 13:07   #5
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, it is a bit tight, but again we never felt that we needed more personal space, just a bit more capacity.

Agreed getting off of the boat will be key. Our son is obviously an only child and we are kept busy either playing with him ourselves (which we love and cherish) or arranging for playmates. It does give me pause about the trip all together since finding other kid boats seems to be a challenge. However, most of what I've read on this topic seems to acknowledge that challenge but conclude that the overall family together adventure makes worthwhile.

Yes, buying a boat that is down there already seems like a great idea. I read a book about a family who did just that. I think their boat was named "Mermaid." It was a Beneteau 40 something that they purchased in St. Marten. I don't know if perhaps they were able to get a premium boat that needed little work. The last three boats I've owned were all in very good shape, still I spent a lot of time and money getting them updated, maintained and equipped the way I wanted. It seems to me that this would be much easier at home over a few months than in the Caribbean over a few weeks. Has anyone else done this an lived to tell the tale?
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Old 25-07-2011, 12:56   #6
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by Lowcountry View Post
Any of the boats you listed would be fine for 6 months in the islands. I'm trying to get down-island this year or next on my IP35 with my girlfriend and her two boys, ages 6 and 11. I feel like my 35 is just roomy enough for this, and I would think that the IP31 would be roomy enough for you three. Good luck with your search.

Oh, also... everyone always knocks IP's for being slow. They're not that slow. My 35 has a hull speed of 8kts, and regularly sails at 6.5-7.5kts.
How the heck did you get it to go at 8kts? we have an IP35 as well and haven't been able to get her to go that fast....tell me your secrets please???
Velma
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Old 25-07-2011, 13:12   #7
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

Island Packets have a lot of space for their length. Friends of ours sold their Pearson 36 and bought a used IP 31, and increased their usable space by about 50%. IPs are great boats for Tradewind sailing.

Take a look at the photos from the brochure I just downloaded from the IPY.com website. Lots of accommodations for a 31 footer, and there is tons of storage throughout the boat.
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Old 25-07-2011, 13:43   #8
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Re: Island Packet 31 for Six Months in the Caribbean ?

great idea to buy a boat in virgin islands and sail it back home .. you might even find a better deal than in US. the 31 is a great boat but some might not be equipped for cruising .. with solar power and extra batteries etc. tankage is a bit limited at 25 gallons. the heavy full keeled packet would be comfortable in the trades. good luck.
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Old 25-07-2011, 13:52   #9
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Re: Island Packet 31 for Six Months in the Caribbean ?

Hi,

I was evaluating 2 years ago as well an IP31 but moved quickly to look at the IP32 (ending buying a bigger on - but thatís another story).

IMO the IP32 is a much better boat for not much more money. Check out the guest bed size in particular, tankage is slightly better as well. More important I have the impression the IP32 sails much better (new generation). Given the current market you should be able to get one in your range (asking starts now at 75k or so). At least I can recommend to try and place YOUR offer.

I'm a big IP fan, but I see one or two draw back with this boats: If you just buy it for 6 months could be pricey: The main concerns on older IPs are the Aluminium Tanks and sometimes the Chainplates. A hell of work & money if something breaks. As tanks do break at some age you have to replace it - its OK if you intend to keep the boat. It usually does not pays back after a few months of usage.

cheers & good luck
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Old 25-07-2011, 14:53   #10
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velma View Post
How the heck did you get it to go at 8kts? we have an IP35 as well and haven't been able to get her to go that fast....tell me your secrets please???
Velma
Velma, I've even done 10kts over ground surfing down waves before. If you can get on a beam reach or broad reach under full sail in 20-22kts of wind, you will flirt with 7.5-8kts all day long. Having a good bottom job helps, but these boats are not nearly the slouches that they are often characterized as being. I have about 40 videos on youtube (under lowcountrydawg2525), several of which show the boat sailing at over 7kts (with views of the chartplotter showing the speed, even!). Have a look if it interests you
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Old 25-07-2011, 18:48   #11
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Re: Island Packet 31 for 6 mos. in Caribbean?

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Velma, I've even done 10kts over ground surfing down waves before. If you can get on a beam reach or broad reach under full sail in 20-22kts of wind, you will flirt with 7.5-8kts all day long. Having a good bottom job helps, but these boats are not nearly the slouches that they are often characterized as being. I have about 40 videos on youtube (under lowcountrydawg2525), several of which show the boat sailing at over 7kts (with views of the chartplotter showing the speed, even!). Have a look if it interests you
Very cool, good to know as we will be crossing the Florida Current this winter. Hoping it will be good sailing across to the Bahamas. We love our IP35!
Thanks for the link,
Velma
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Old 27-07-2011, 22:09   #12
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Re: Island Packet 31 for Six Months in the Caribbean ?

Hi docinsand, I've sailed a 320 before and I think its a pretty good sailing boat. I think it would accommodate a family of three well although I've never cruised one with family. I bet there's some deals out there right now on these, though haven't looked.

Good luck and have fun-

Chase
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