Blue Jacket 40
Earlier this week—the first in September—Island Packet Yachts officially announced the launch of its newest model; taken at face value, it was interesting but not especially astounding news. After all, for over three decades Island Packet’s prolific chief designer and CEO, Bob Johnson, has been introducing new boats to the marketplace with clockwork regularity.
However, one only had to scratch the surface of the official press release to realize that, for a couple of very intriguing reasons, the next boat off the company’s line in Largo, Florida, will be an Island Packet unlike any other.
For with the introduction of the company’s new Blue Jacket 40, the first in a new series of performance cruising sailboats, IP is certainly expanding its scope beyond its familiar fleet of blue-water voyagers. And to underscore their commitment to the “performance” aspect of the concept, in yet another first, Johnson is collaborating on the project with another renowned naval architect, Tim Jackett, whose name for many years has been synonymous with Tartan and C&C.
Johnson and Jackett may not yet be the Lennon and McCarthy of the maritime world, but their partnership is most definitely one of the more alluring and surprising unions in the marine industry in quite some time. When you think about it, though, it makes a lot of sense. IP has been building bulletproof cruisers for over thirty years. Jackett’s been drafting boats that sail beautifully for about the same length of time. Between them, they’ve wracked up over a dozen Boat of the Year winners. If they’ve achieved all that independently, one wonders, what will they come up with together?
Only time will tell if it’s a match made in heaven, but with their first 40-footer, which will make its debut during this winter’s boat shows, they’ve definitely served notice they’ll be a force to contend with.
The artist’s rendering of the new boat makes it clear the guys are listening to one another. The twin wheels and double-headsail Solent rig are familiar features from Jackett’s most recent designs for Tartan. But check out that no-nonsense cabin house and the Hoyt boom on the staysail, items that are sure to strike a chord for those with a soft spot for Island Packets.
Frankly, we can’t wait to take her for a sail.