Among its cream-colored sisters at the Newport International Boat Show, the center-cockpit Island Packet 465 stood out. Designer and company president Bob Johnson has taken his IP 445 model and given it a traditional transom and external swim platform, providing more elbowroom in the aft cabin and more storage both on deck and below.
The new model echoes consistent Johnson design precepts: a moderate-size cutter rig featuring a Hoyt self-tacking jib boom, bulwarks along the side decks, a sprit that holds a pair of anchors, and hull and full-length keel constructed as one piece from resin-infused, high-modulus knitted fiberglass. Lead ballast is encapsulated in the keel.
Dorade vents and opening hatches promise good ventilation below. Stainless-steel handrails run the length of each step of the coachroof and are high enough to double as footholds when you're working atop the house.
Mooring cleats mount on the teak caprails forward, aft, and amidships, virtually eliminating the need for fairleads. The fore and aft cleats are also well situated to act as strong points for jacklines. The jib sheets lead to blocks on tracks mounted on the caprails, keeping the side decks open. Stainless-steel strikers on both rubrails and caprails will make docking against pilings much less intimidating.
The swim platform is constructed of stainless steel, fiberglass, and teak and is securely bolted to the transom. Steps to the deck are permanently installed, and just in case you fall in when alone, there's a hidden swim ladder you can deploy.
The roomy cockpit is designed with comfort and safety commanding equal attention. I immediately noticed a pair of 2-inch cockpit drains and four strong points for harnesses. Seats are long enough for sleeping on deck, and angled backs are a little low but still comfortable for sitting. On the boat I reviewed, the primary and spare main-halyard/mainsheet winches were electric, a useful option for many owners.
This boat had Lewmar's folding wheel, which made passage by it easy when the boat wasn't moving, but the large chart plotter mounted atop the pedestal seriously obstructs the helmsman's view forward; I'd mount it under the dodger.
Belowdecks, I found that the stainless-steel-and-teak companionway steps run at about the perfect angle. Grabrails on either side as well as a pair that run the length of the saloon on the deckhead offer handholds to use at sea. Teak woodwork provides a warm counterpoint to the light, airy feel throughout the interior.
The nav station is outboard to port, with a table large enough for a folded chart, plenty of room for instruments, and numerous small cuddies for gear and gadgets. The navigator's chair is a large, swiveling, super-comfortable affair suitable for one who occupies that exalted position. Aft of the seat is a vertical flat locker for charts.
The gourmet galley has a three-burner, gimbaled Force 10 stove and oven outboard and aft; they sit across from a double stainless-steel sink near the centerline. A pair of refrigerator/freezer compartments is in the forward part of the long outboard counter.
The sole in the aft cabin-as in the saloon and forward cabin-is solid teak and oak. Angled out from the port side in the aft cabin is an island double berth. Plenty of storage exists in drawers and lockers, and there's a private head with a Vacu-Flush toilet and a well-proportioned shower stall. Forward is another roomy cabin, also with a large island double and plenty of storage. The head and shower are larger than their aft counterparts.
In the saloon are two plush UltraLeather-covered settees that would make comfortable sea berths with the addition of lee cloths. The port one pulls out to convert to a double. A drop-leaf table folds down from the portside bulkhead to reveal a wine rack.
Beneath the floorboards, the sump is appropriately deep, and the seacocks, pumps, and filters are all readily accessible. The 75-horsepower Yanmar engine and optional 8-kilowatt MasPower generator are located under the galley counter on centerline and are accessible on all sides and above.
I sailed the 465 last fall in 10 to 15 knots of breeze on Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. As we left the dock under power, I found the boat responsive to the large, three-bladed prop; it started and stopped as quickly as can be expected on a moderate- to heavy-displacement boat. At first, when I backed up across the wind, the windage from the furled headsails caused the bow to fall off to leeward. With a little judicious use of the bow thruster, however, I was able to back up straight.
The in-mast roller-furling double-spreader rig from Charleston Spars is anodized and powder coated, so the finish should be good for years. The main was set from the front of the cockpit by simply casting off the furling line and hauling on the outhaul; the mainsheet was nearby, led to a winch by the companionway.
We cast off the jib- and staysail-furling lines, sheeted home the sails, and were off, reaching at an impressive 6.4 knots in only 11 knots of apparent wind. When the breeze later popped up to 15, we got 7.7 knots on the GPS. The 465 felt good, and the motion was subdued and easy.
The Island Packet 465 I sailed is Janet and Mark Gorrell's first boat, purchased after two years of research. Now that they've bought the 465, they plan to spend a couple of years getting to know it before their departure. It's not hard to see why they chose this model; it's designed expressly for long-distance cruising in uncompromising safety and comfort.
Andrew Burton is a Cruising World associate editor.