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Old 18-08-2008, 07:47   #1
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? for IP Owners

How well do your boats take a pounding?

I know the number-crunchers hate the IP's (and I myself prefer more traditional 'long and skinny' designs), but alas comfort and accomodation will make all the difference convincing the wife. IP's seem to be designed very well in the wife-pleasing department. I don't care much about speed, but I am concerned about how well the IP's can take a pounding. I've been on a 40' Hunter in a nasty blow, and I could swear the hull felt like it was being twisted and 'wrung'. Putting the wife through that would effectively end the cruise. Would you IP owners (specifically the 38) take one on an open-ended cruise across the ocean in potentially heavy seas, or is it really just meant for coastal and caribbean cruising?
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Old 18-08-2008, 11:32   #2
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The Island Packets are definitely built to stand up to offshore passage conditions. I've owned my IP 380 for over six years, and besides coastal cruising have sailed about 6,000 nm on her offshore, and about 3,000 in the tradewinds amongst the islands of the eastern Caribbean.

In the three offshore cruising rallies that I've done in my 380, we've fared extremely well compared to other boats passage making in the same conditions. Conditions have included three-day November gales blowing 40-45 kts with breaking seas up to 24', and on other passages, continuous squalls up to 50 kts, with steep, confused waves around 12-14', and larger as we traversed the Gulf Stream.

The only damage we've experienced is the staysail outhall parted, and the genoa furler chafed through--both my fault for not checking them regularly enough during the passage (but frankly the weather was so bad, I didn't want to go forward). Damage to other boats on the same passages include two damaged rudders, one lost rudder, one dis-masting, several autopilot failures due to stress, several electronics system failures, charging/battery system failures, a steering system failure, and a broken boom. The boat has a "bullet-proof" feel to it when you're out there in the rough stuff.

In comparing notes with other skippers after the passages, we consistently seem to be in the top 20% as far as comfort level. We stay dry in the cockpit (full bimini and vinyl enclosure, even at 50 kts) and are able to cook, serve and eat full, hot dinners, while other boats were grabbing handfuls of trail mix or eating peanut butter out of a jar for there dinner.

The boat doesn't pound into the waves like some others that I've sailed. She just puts her shoulder to the swells and pushes right through. We steered by hand for significant portions of our passages, and just you really don't get tired. When the sails are properly balanced, she almost sails herself. She sails best when the sails are reefed to yield a 15 degree heel, which is pretty comfortable compared to some boats.

As far as speed, we probably wouldn't win many 'round the buoy races on Wednesday evenings, but we did come in First in Class and 7th Overall in the 2004 Caribbean 1500. We did even better in elapsed time the next year, but weren't racing because of our pesky insurance carrier. We beat a number of bigger boats (including a Saga 43) on elapsed time. Island Packets are not slow when sailing a close, beam or broad reach in 15 kts or more. We sailed in company with a Hunter 380 to Bermuda, and hit some really rotten squalls and sea conditions. We ended up getting in to St. Georges about 10 hours before the Hunter. I think it was because we didn't really have to ease up for comfort and to protect the boat. She took the bad conditions in stride and kept on truckin'.

Now I'll probably get criticized for being "one of those rabidly loyal Island Packet owners", but I can't help it. I really like this boat.
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Old 18-08-2008, 12:45   #3
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Exactly the sort of testimonial I'm looking for, thanks. Most of our future cruising time will be spent at anchor, so it makes sense to look for a cruiser optimised for that. I just wouldn't want to sacrifice safety in the tradeoff.
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