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Old 22-11-2023, 09:02   #1
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Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

Greetings. I bought a 1997 IP29 over a year ago. She's a beauty. I've sailed her hard in the Northeast, and want to take her to the Caribbean. Does anyone here have experience or knowledge of how she would do far Offshore? I can't find much online about her.

She seems to be built for it, but I want to be reassured since she's borderline in size to make this trip comfortably. I want to go from New England (Newport) straight to Antigua.

Captain Harry
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Old 22-11-2023, 09:52   #2
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

The boat is certainly capable. Someone sailed a catalina 27 around the world, Web Chiles sailed a Moore 24 around the world. I've sailed an Alberg 30 around the world. The first thing I would want to know is how do you plan on steering the boat for 2 weeks, Electric Autopilot or a windvane. Preferably both.
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Old 22-11-2023, 10:46   #3
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

I would certainly get a windvane first, but I do have electric as well.
I wouldnt take a Catalina 27 on the trip, but I would an Alberg 30. And Web Chiles is Web Chiles! I'm a little scared of the trip on this boat.
Thanks for the comments!
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Old 22-11-2023, 11:15   #4
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

While the IP29 may be a solidly built boat, conditions en route from Newport to Antigua can get very nasty. It would be good to find out how well the autopilot (and boat, and rig, and you) might handle 40 knots of breeze for two or three days at a time, along with the waves that would go with that. Would you be going solo? That brings to mind the recent story of "Windward Passage". You'd certainly want a good weather window, but new weather cycles are not going to wait for a 29' boat, which is not likely able to outrun them either. Where are you going to stow gear and stores for a 2-4 week passage?
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Old 22-11-2023, 11:26   #5
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

If you ensure she is sound, well rigged and steered, and well provisioned then certainly the boat is capable.
I did this passage in the opposite direction in March about 5 years ago (on a much bigger boat) and it took 14 days, with an overnight stop in the BVI's. We saw about 2 days of 35kts + with a day of buildup and subsidence on either side, but otherwise lovely sailing with a day of motor sailing near the end.
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Old 22-11-2023, 20:25   #6
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

I would certainly hope for a good weather window! I've been in about 28 kts with the boat, and she handled it pretty well reefed down, and I don't have a staysail yet. Two to three days of 35kts I'm not sure I can handle, and 40 kts!. I can't outrun weather, which is why I'm here asking about the trip. I hope to go with at least one crew. Please give me more info! Is the Gulf Stream the worst part of the trip?
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Old 22-11-2023, 21:43   #7
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

When do you propose to leave?
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Old 22-11-2023, 22:10   #8
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

If you are ok with the idea of taking an Alberg 30 then I think the IP29 should be fine for you. That's a pretty hefty "29."
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Old 23-11-2023, 00:21   #9
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

Op states: "Two to three days of 35kts I'm not sure I can handle, and 40 kts!"
The Gulf stream can get very rough with short nasty seas. A 29ft boat (even a long keel type) under these conditions in 35+kts of wind, especially on a beat, can be very uncomfortable! You will be thrown around the cabin, cooking will be difficult, using the head will be a major operation.
I speak from experience. A few hours is one thing, a few days is a completely different experience.
Of course it can be done, and if the boat is in very good condition and properly set up, it will probably be ok; the question is will you?
You mention being scared. That is natural to a point, but fear can be very debilitating. If you are constantly fearing something breaking, or losing control of the situation, it saps your energy and your mental resilience. Experience is the key, and trust in the boat. Given what you say, I'd recommend one experienced crew.
Good Luck

Good luck
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Old 23-11-2023, 06:38   #10
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

Another alternative is the “Thornless Passage”, ICW , Bahamas, DR, on to the Islands, another great trip. The in proper condition, boat will be fine. Lot’s of people have cruised in that size boat, that were a lesser vessel.
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Old 23-11-2023, 10:54   #11
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

How does she do twenty miles offshore? She will do the same 200 or 500 miles offshore too.
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Old 23-11-2023, 12:21   #12
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

A few comments based on what you have said so far.

- the normal approach is to leave from the Chesapeake or a bit further south early in November. Check to see what your insurance company has to say about this. You go pretty much due east until you around 65°W (sometimes called I-65) before aiming south for your destination. The reason is to get your easting in before you reach the trades which would put you on the wind, perhaps for hundreds of miles - not nice.

- From the lower Chesapeake the Gulf Stream is not far offshore and you can get a weather window to get across it in benign conditions. Once you get past about 4-5 days you get whatever weather you get. The only bailout spot is Bermuda. The conditions can vary enormously. Last time we did it the good sailing winds predicted did not materialize and we ended up going into Bermuda for more fuel. On a earlier trip we hustled to get in front of a cold front that was developing off the US coast. It eventually produced a cold front that went from Greenland to Cuba, but moved very, very slowly to the east, mainly moved north. We had a week of beam reaching in around 25 knots that was excellent for making progress. My point is you need to be ready for what comes.

- We were told that if things are going well when you approach Bermuda (you will get close), don't stop. We know of someone who did not stop and was stuck in Bermuda for three weeks as a series of depressions passed. Go to Bermuda on the way back, likely in May or early-June. Much nicer weather to be had.

- I would say you would want three crew on your boat with two good sea berths so people can sleep. All three need to be competent to handle the boat alone in normal conditions so those off-watch don't get called unless conditions are really nasty. My wife and I could handle our Bristol 45.5 in almost any conditions because the boat was well set-up.

- Your comments about being afraid in conditions not all that bad suggest to me you might not be ready for this trip without more experience. A good training trip would be a mid-June passage to and from Bermuda. It gives you offshore and GS experience (the Stream is much further offshore and you are going across at more of an angle). You could see what breaks on the boat and what the shortcomings are. You could also test potential crew.

- As for equipment, check with your sailmaker to see what size staysail he recommends for this purpose, probably somewhat smaller than the standard one. Self-steering is a big issue. A standard Raymarine unit can easily be overwhelmed, even in 25-30 knots and hand steering for days is not nice, ask me how I know. Electrical consumption is a big issue if you have both an autopilot and a refrigerator. Vane steering is pricey and probably not worth it if this is a one-off (or a two-off with a Bermuda trip), but a Monitor or similar is very reliable and doesn't use electrons.

- I would go to St Martin first and on to Antigua if that is your desired goal. The Dutch side of the island, is duty-free, and has the headquarters of the two big chandleries in the Eastern Caribbean - Budget Marine and Island Water World. Chances are that after 1500 nm you will need to do some shopping and you might as well save some money. All the marine trades are there as well.

Let me know if you have other queries.
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Old 23-11-2023, 13:40   #13
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

Tania Aebi sailed her Contessa 26 Round the World starting at age 18.

The numbers on her boat are a bit better than that of an IP29 but not that far off.

Your boat should do fine.

I plan to do something similar to what you are doing soon on my Bristol 27 that I bought for $2,000 in 2011.

It has good offshore numbers as well with slightly better comfort ratio than the others.

Contessa 26

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/contessa-26/

Island Packet 29

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/island-packet-29/

Bristol 27

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/bristol-27/

Mahina Offshore Boat List gives a good idea also as to what is a good sailboat for that purpose.

https://mahina.com/wp-content/upload...e-Cruising.pdf
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Old 23-11-2023, 20:29   #14
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

Imho you should take the coastal route with that size vessel. Inside (ICW) or outside in hops. Doing hops down the coast will get you more experience and confidence, You will be able to use what the boat is designed for, short 2-5 day trips. Small vessels have small fuel, water, and provisions storage.

Yes you can push the limitations but why? You can add stuff but you will run out of room quickly, when adding and the inside space will get smaller and smaller. The more you add the slower your vessel will go.

Also At that size reducing sail ahead of forecasted heavy wind will slow you down to a crawl. So the longer you are out there the more exposed you are to breakage of all kinds and running out of provisions.

Just my opinion
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Old 24-11-2023, 03:48   #15
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Re: Taking an Island Packet 29 far Offshore?

There’s a 25 year old forum for IP owners and enthusiasts called IPHomeport. Great support and resources for you. If you do this trip and document it online, please publish here for the enjoyment and benefit of others. Congratulations on your IP and best of blessings in your journey.

Looking forward to the same trip one day.
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