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Old 28-04-2016, 08:55   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Lewisville, TX (Outside Dallas)
Boat: Watkins 32
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I have read many discussion threads on the Island Packet 38. I have also talked to some owners of these boats concerning their pros and cons. I am considering buying an IP38 this year, in anticipation of Caribbean cruising (and maybe point beyond) in about 3 – 4 years. I know a survey MAY bring out some of these issues but I have heard about some of the recurring problems these boats have had and want to ask a few questions:

Concerning the chain plates:
1. How can I tell if they will need replacing (i.e., I’ve heard they have no weep holes)?
2. What kind of questions can I ask the present owner to indicate if they have done the proper maintenance (other than "did you do the proper maintenance - lol)?

Concerning the tanks:
1. Other than a smell, how can I tell if a fuel or waste tank needs to be replaced (pretty sure if I can already smell it, the tank will need replacing)?
2. For the water tank, how can I tell if it needs replacing?

Concerning the rudder:
1. I have heard that some boats have had issues with their rudder, how can I tell this before and during haulout?

Any other issues that I may not have heard about:
1. What are they and what are their telltale signs?

Thanks in advance for your feedback,


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Old 28-04-2016, 09:36   #2
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Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 18,471
Re: IP38

Theses are my opinions, take them for what they are worth

1. chain plates, you can't inspect. They ALL need replacing unless already done, last 38 was made in 93? I think they were all made from 304 SS, newer plates will be made from 316, a little weaker metal, but more resistant to corrosion and new one will be bigger to make up for strength loss, Mine are now 30 yrs old and will be replaced next year, turn key cost is $10,000, then they will outlast me as old ones lasted 30 yrs, new ones are better, and I doubt I have 30 yrs left, so chain plates are really a non issue, just know it takes 10 grand and you will never have to do anything to them again.

2. water tank is good til it leaks and there are quite a few that have been repaired and years later are still OK, but honestly I believe it's a crap shoot. I run all my water slowly through an activated charcoal filter to remove chlorine as I believe chlorine is what eats them, if you remove chlorine, they ought to last longer than we will, but if you get one that the PO kept his tanks sterilized by adding chlorine, it may fail the day you buy it. I plan on having a water maker and using only water we make, that has no chlorine of course.

3, fuel tank ought to last forever, IF you keep water out of it or off of it, as designed there should never get an water on it, or in it, fuel does not corrode aluminum, I don't believe. Course we are back to did the PO keep fuel clean?

4. waste tank is easy, Ronco gave me a quote of $150 dollars earlier this week, does not include shipping of course, but tank is easily removed, half day job tops, new hoses make it a full day job though, and I think you would be crazy to go back with aluminum, plastic Ronco tank, ought to outlast me, like new chainplates will

5. Rudder is a common make, I forget who, but it is readily available and subject to the same problems any other foam filled rudder is, that is coin tap test it, and push really hard on it when the boat is on the hard to ensure noting inside is loose, you can drill a hole to see if there is water in it, mine is 30 yrs old and so far no problems.

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Old 28-04-2016, 09:44   #3
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Location: Panama City FL
Boat: Island Packet 32 Cbreeze
Posts: 364
Re: IP38

There is no real way to inspect the chain plates other than removal and physical inspection. IMO the issue is a combination of 304 SS, weld decay where the cross bar is welded to the tang, and salt water ingress. New plates usually use 316L SS. 2K for the plates and 8 K worth of labor seems to be the going rate. If you see rust around the chain plate tang exit I would plan on a definite replace. If you lift the covers off the tang and see 5200 also bad indication. IP finally changed to GE Silpruf which forms a permanent bond to SS (5200 will let go over time).

Those that have changed plates (if they have not failed) often find no detectable cracks.

On the 38 replacing holding tank is NBD just a little work and expense.

You can inspect some of the water tank interior by removing the level gauge sender unit and having look see. The issue is chlorine in water and aluminum. POs that have dumped bleach into the tank just accelerate the problem.

Fuel tanks have not typically been a failure item. Water and fuel tanks are both built in under teak plywood and FG pan. Replacement is PITA and about same cost as chain plate redo.

IPYOA and IP Homeport have a lot of good info and pictures.

30 YO yachts just require a little TLC but can provide a good seaworthy craft with a little upgrading.
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Old 28-04-2016, 09:48   #4
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Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
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Re: IP38

Originally Posted by dlauginiger View Post
2. What kind of questions can I ask the present owner to indicate if they have done the proper maintenance (other than "did you do the proper maintenance - lol)?
You ask for the maintenance log. I have one that I fill out whenever I do work on the boat: chainplate rebedding, portlight replacement, engine work. Since 1998, I am up to 17 pages on a form I made with a spreadsheet that I fill in by hand whenever I do some work. Includes date, engine hours, and a BIG remarks column to list the activity. I take the originals home, scan them in when each page is filled out completely and make a copy to bring back to the boat. If anyone buys my boat, they get the originals and a disc with all the scans.

No log, no belief anything's been done.

Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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Old 28-04-2016, 14:36   #5
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Location: west Fl., Tampa Bay,
Boat: '76 Heritage West Indies 36 Morgan design
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Re: IP38

the problem on IP's is the chainplates are glassed over/ you can't, clean, see, inspect, rebed , disassemble or have to cut/grind them out...ok when new...but horrible as years go by...with inevitable water ingress
water tanks are under flooring woodwork that has to be ripped out to replace... very expensive if you can't do it yourself
In my boat detailed inspection revealed obvious extensive proper refit...
nothing written required, my experienced eyes could see everything, though I did have occasion to have detailed discussion with the excellent shipwright that did all the 3 1/2 months custom fabricated ss refit work on the hard...thus insuring my complete peace of mind and satisfaction.
had to sell my beauty, can't physically do the hard labor needed to sail and maintain,.. bad back....if you can?...Go
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