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Island Packet 460

2008 December 1
Bluewater cruiser

I was never a real Van Morrison fan but one day I was out sailing and the owner kept playing Van's CDs and it occurred to me that Van has had a distinct idea of what makes good music and he has stuck with it for many years. Now I am a Van fan. Island Packet's designer Bob Johnson is the same way. Bob has had a distinct image of what makes a good sailboat and he has been faithful to that image for many years. Trends come and go, usually fueled by the latest racing handicap system, but Bob's IPs stick to the formula that has made them a resounding success. So, while the new IP 460 may not be your type of boat, it is certain to be the boat for a lot of loyal IP owners, like Tony, my airline pilot pal.

The new 460 evolved from the successful IP 440. The difference in the two hull models is the transom treatment. While the 440 has a reverse transom with a swim step the 460 has a traditionally raked transom. There is no molded-in swim step but you can add a powerboat-styled external swim step. I know this does not sound too attractive but they look just fine. They do not detract from the lines of the boat and they can work very well.

The D/L is 259, indicating a boat of moderate displacement by cruising boat standards if you consider 300-plus "heavy." Draft is only 5 feet and that is going to be very convenient, if not the most efficient way to get to weather. The L/B is 3.4. With what most of us would call a "full keel," the IP is not going to perform on a level with the latest TP52, or even the C&C 131. That said, in the world of cruising boat handicap racing, IPs have done very well in long, offshore races.

The elements of this layout are not new. They are combinations of features that have worked well on the previous IP models based on the same hull. Bob Johnson fine-tunes the layout using mock-ups so that every cubic inch gets actual ergonomic scrutiny. You can do this to a degree with drawings but there is nothing like mocking up a section of the boat to get the very most out of the available volume. Look at that owner's head. The shower is huge, and I'd say big enough for two. The forward cabin layout is a bit unusual but it has proven very successful on previous models. I love this galley. No question, when cruising the cook is the most important crewmember, so this big galley should be a cook's dream. The aft stateroom has direct access to the aft head and you can also access the head from the galley side. Two couples will be very comfortable aboard the IP 460.

Bob Johnson knows what it takes to sell IPs and he has designed the rig of the 460 to reflect what he has learned over the years. The underlying philosophy is to keep the rig as simple to operate as possible. This means that all the sails will be on roller furling gear including an in-mast furling mainsail. Clearly mast furling does not give you the best shape for a mainsail but with vertical battens you can reclaim some of the roach lost. The staysail is on a Hoyt boom and these work very well even if they are an obstacle on the foredeck. Using I, J, E and P, I get an SA/D of 15.52. IP likes to add the area of the staysail to the 100-percent foretriangle area, and with that method the SA/D is boosted to 18.2. I had a nice, long chat with Bob the other day and I think in the near future we can expect to see some very exciting and rather radical rig developments come out of IP.

I have always admired the overall look of the IP boats. They are handsome designs; very well detailed and executed. They all seem to come in that bland beige color but I did see one that was repainted with a dark blue hull and it looked great. So while trends come and go, IP sticks to its formula, and by the numbers of boats they sell I'd say it was working.

LOA 48'9"; LWL 38'1"; Beam 14'4"; Draft 5'; Displacement 32,000 lbs.; Ballast 12,000 lbs.; Sail area 1,148 sq. ft.; SA/D 18.2; D/L 259; L/B 3.4; Auxiliary Yanmar 75-hp; Fuel 160 gals.; Water 260 gals.

Island Packet Yachts, 979 Wild Acres Rd., Largo, FL 33771, (888) 724-5479, www.ipycom.

OBE: $549,950
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