Quick Look:Island Packet SP

Alvah Simon reviews the Island Packet SP Cruiser for the 2007 Cruising World Sailboat Show.

Island Packet

Given both an aging demographic looking for ways to extend the free life afloat and a brand following known to favor solid construction and comfort over high performance, IP has made a bold, yet almost inevitable, move into the motorsailing market.

It's done so honestly and well with the SP Cruiser, for it does exactly what the company says it will do: provide "year-round boating comfort, trawlerlike livability, motoring performance, and simple and versatile sailing."
With an SA/D of 14.8, and a D/L of 223, the sailing will depend on ample wind from a favorable direction. The boat sailed an honest 6.3 knots with a beam wind of 16 knots. It stood well to its limited canvas, which adds distance and security to its motoring range of 1,000 nautical miles. For light-air or closehauled work, the 100-horsepower Yanmar takes charge, controlled from a comfortable, out-of-the-weather pilothouse helm that has excellent visibility.

The sail controls, located aft of the cabin house, are too far from the wheel for safe sailing. Apparently aware of this, IP designers are presently working on an electric drum winch that will allow push-button sail control from the helm station. Although not pitched as a bluewater passagemaker, the SP Cruiser has a reassuring stability index of 39 and a capsize righting moment of 155 degrees.

The most innovative feature is the forward cockpit, which is designed purely for lounging, away from all sail and motor controls. With the addition of handholds and rails, the aft platform will extend the loading, relaxing, and working space considerably.

The interior, which includes the raised-deck helm and dining area, is spacious and sensible. Systems are of typical IP high standards, and coupled with the company's 3/10/10 warranty, one may expect manageable maintenance and sound customer service.

Island Packet SP Cruiser Specs

LOA: 41' 1"
LWL: 34' 9"
Beam: 12' 9"
Draft: 3' 8"
Sail Area: 705 sq. ft.
Displacement: 21,000 lb.
Water: 130 gal.
Fuel: 215 gal.
Engine: 100-hp. Yanmar
Designer: Bob Johnson
Price: $330,000
Island Packet Yachts, (727) 535-6431, www.ipy.com