I.P.'s enjoys a legion of loyal owners, and with the Estero, Johnson has executed a design for those who want sailing to be simple and easy on the crew. The self-tending rig consists of an in-mast furling main with vertical battens and a self-tending jib set on a Harken roller furler. Setting sail is as easy as pulling a couple of lines. Closehauled, tacking involves turning the Edson wheel, and the rack-and-pinion steering does the rest. On the new tack, there's no need to touch the sheets. Off the wind, the jib boom keeps the headsail working efficiently.
Though our test sail was on San Francisco Bay, someone forgot to tell the wind gods we were there. We motored out of the marina in Oakland, pushed along easily through glassy seas at about 7 knots by the 40-horsepower Yanmar engine with a conventional shaft and propeller. Our departure from the marina's tight quarters was made simple, thanks to the optional Vetus 6-horsepower bow thruster. Out on the bay, the wind was light at best. Still, in about 5 knots of breeze we approached speeds of 3 or so knots over the ground, and the boat tacked in these conditions through about 80 degrees. I wished I could've been aboard later in the day when we watched from afar as the boat heeled smartly and appeared to be reveling in a breeze in the low teens.