It sounds like you have your mind made up on the Island Packet
but with all due respect, if you haven't made a final decision, I would like to suggest that Island Packets, especially the small ones are really a bad choice for the Chesapeake. As you probably know, sailing the Chesapeake involves long periods of light air, punctuated by short periods of high winds. Sailing on the Chesapeake also involves a lot of time beating up the Bay or running in light conditions down the Bay. The small Island Packets do none of these things very well. I would seriously suggest that you will spend less time motoring if you bought a small trawler
yacht. You will have more room and an easier time with the Bay conditions.
Then there is the grounding issue. Nothing is harder to unstick from a grounding (with the posible exception of a wing keel
keels) than a long keel
. If you sail the Bay long enough you will run aground. Oddly enough, despite its long keel, the Island Packet rudder
is actually a post hung spade rudder
with a metal stap across its bottom to prevent trap line from getting fouled. Unlike a normal fin keel boat with spade rudder, where the rudder would be considerably shallower than the keel, on an Island Packet the rudder is the same depth
as the keel, making them very vulnerable to damage. As surveyors and friends here on the Bay with repair yards tell me, they are frequently seeing repairs
to the IP connecting strap and rudder posts.
I understand that the IP's have a strong following and a good dealer network but if you are buying
a boat that you intend to sail here on the Chesapeake then I respectfully suggest that you look for a boat that is designed to sail well. The Chesapeake rewards boats that sail well with a lot more sailing vs motoring time and a lot more places that are within range on a weekend.