Announcing Blue Jacket Yachts
Island Packet Yachts is launching a new line of performance cruising sailboats designed by Tim Jackett in collaboration with Bob Johnson.
According to a press announcement just released by the company, Island Packet Yachts is launching of a new line of performance cruising sailboats to be called BLUE JACKET YACHTS. The Blue Jacket 40 is the first in a series and has been designed by Tim Jackett (ex-President and Chief Designer at Tartan and C&C) in collaboration with Bob Johnson (CEO and Chief Designer at Island Packet). With 15 Boat of the Year award-winning designs between them, the new Blue Jacket 40 embodies the creativity and broad-based experience these noted designers have displayed over the past 30 plus years, melding the performance prowess of Jackett with the cruising focus and manufacturing acumen of Johnson and Island Packet.
This modern interpretation of a performance cruiser features either a three-cabin arrangement (with an option for a two-cabin layout) with the amenities and build quality expected of a luxury sailing yacht. The powerful and versatile Solent-type sailplan features a working jib with self-tending Hoyt Boom® along with a large reacher for offwind work. Twin wheels and a large cockpit enhance both sailing and socializing, and all frequently used sail controls are convenient to the cockpit. Construction features 100% VE resin infusion technology with Divinycell® coring for both hull and deck. Fit, finish and materials and equipment selections typify the high standards of Island Packet.
With Island Packet’s international acclaim for exemplary product quality, value and its long history of award-winning customer satisfaction, the Blue Jacket 40 represents a bold and important new entry into the performance cruising sailboat market.
An Interview with Tim Jackett and Bob Johnson
Q: Tell us about the inspiration behind creating the new Blue Jacket line?
A: (BJ) For some time now Island Packet has been considering adding a line of performance-oriented cruising sailboats to expand our market. Tim and I have had a long friendship and a respect for each other’s work, so when I heard that Tim had established a new independent design office we contacted him to explore the possibility of working together on this new venture.
A: (TJ) Bob and I have admired each other’s work for many years so when he first reached out to me about this project I quickly realized what a great opportunity it would be to work together on a new boat line with him and the Island Packet team.
Q: Two of the industry’s better known and most experienced “Chief Designers” working together has the potential for conflict and compromise . . . how is this working out?
A: (BJ) Let me make it clear that the Blue Jacket is Tim’s design with my collaboration. We are enjoying working together and are both learning from each other’s experience, which I feel has tangibly benefited the creative process for this new yacht. I think it’s the proverbial “win-win” arrangement, largely facilitated by our compatible personalities.
A: (TJ) Bob and I both have years of experience in materials and manufacturing technologies, yacht design, and corporate management that puts us in a uniquely qualified position within our industry. The new Blue Jacket series will reflect the benefit of our combining this depth and scope of experience.
Q: The Blue Jacket 40 is described as the first in series of planned designs. What do you envision down the road?
A: (TJ) We are considering at least two additional models. While we have some ideas regarding these, we’re not ready to share anything yet.
A: (BJ) I also think we will gain a lot of insight on how to evolve the designs both from owner feedback and the expansion of our new Blue Jacket dealer network in the US and abroad.
Q: This sounds like you’re planning for both a US and export market?
A: (BJ) Yes. Island Packet’s export market historically represents over a third of our total sales. Our plan will be to design and build the Blue Jacket series to meet or exceed all ABYC domestic standards as well as the ISO/CE standards in place for export yachts. Island Packet was the first US sailboat builder to become CE certified back in 1992 when the standards first took effect, and we plan to continue supporting this third-party validation for compliance with all design and construction standards.
Q: Where will the Blue Jackets be built?
(BJ): Our Largo, Florida facility will be headquarters for the actual boat construction, utilizing our Island Packet manufacturing team. This will ensure the same quality, customer support and corporate culture that have made Island Packet Yachts one of the world’s most respected yacht builders. Sales and marketing responsibilities for the Blue Jacket will also come from our Largo offices, assuring consistent messaging and a level of dealer involvement and support that has become renown in the industry.
A: (TJ) The tooling is being done at both my Ohio facility and at the Island Packet plant. I am rapidly assimilating many of Island Packet’s preferred manufacturing methods and melding these with my own experiences for what we think will be a great new product. With Bob and I each having many decades of building experience, our shared efforts in this respect are producing a “best practices” solution that will benefit all parties and the yacht.
Q: Bob, given Island Packet’s successful 33 year track record with over 2,500 yachts built and sailing in all corners of the world, how do you see the Island Packet line evolving, and what impact might the Blue Jacket series have on future Island Packets?
A: (BJ) Wow...give me a crystal ball! I guess I’d respond by first saying the “design brief” for Island Packet will almost certainly remain unchanged, with its focus continuing to be on seakeeping, safety, livability and ease of handling for a cruising couple. Different manufacturing technologies (infused composite hulls and decks, carbon fiber components, etc.) introduced with the Blue Jacket line may eventually find their way into Island Packet construction if deemed appropriate, but the two product lines address different market segments with different sets of priorities.
Q: Where does the name “Blue Jacket” come from?
A: (TJ) Well, while it has an obvious connection with my last name and Bob’s initials, “Blue Jacket” has historical connections in the sailing world. First, for centuries the name has been a reference to both US and British sailors. The extreme US clipper ship “Blue Jacket” was also named for this reference, complete with a figurehead of sailor in a blue jacket. This clipper ship was known for her speed and luxury, features that will be associated with our own Blue Jackets.
A: (BJ) I’ll add that the clipper “Blue Jacket” was also part of a fleet of well known “packet ships” providing fast and comfortable passenger service in the days of large sailing ships, part of the inspiration for our Island Packet name as well.
A: (TJ) And don’t forget that the owners of the clipper ship “Blue Jacket” (the White Star line) were well known for their “impeccable level of customer care”, something Island Packet is certainly highly regarded for and will bring to the table with the new Blue Jacket line.
Q: How would each of you then summarize your decision to create the new Blue Jacket line?
A: (TJ) Bob and his team have successfully built a strong and loyal following for the Island Packet brand over the last 33 years, building yachts noted for many superlative qualities, not the least of which is exceptional and consistent build quality. In my work with Tartan and C&C, I’ve also been responsible for the design and construction of over 2,500 yachts; between the two of us that’s more than 5,000 yachts worth of experience! The Blue Jacket series will greatly benefit from Island Packet’s stellar corporate culture and capabilities and will give sailors looking for a contemporary performance cruiser a great new choice.
A: (BJ) Not only does Island Packet bring a wealth of manufacturing experience to the table, but also a history of designs that have been recognized with numerous industry awards for being the best for their intended purpose, for their innovation and for their value. Tim’s designs for Tartan and C&C have also garnered an equally large number of similar awards, with 15 Boat of the Year Awards alone between the two of us. This combination of proven talent and experience will produce a formidable new choice in the performance cruising yacht market.