New boat: Island Packet SP Cruiser Mk 2
Sailors who cruise in regions that experience summer calms will love Island Packet’s SP Cruiser Mk 2. The SP is a motorsailer designed as a cross between a trawler and sailboat; a boat equally at home motoring in a cold, Pacific Northwest drizzle and sailing in a Bahamas tradewind. It’s stability index is a very stable 39, and with a draft of only 3 feet 8 inches, those notorious Bahama sandbars are no problem.
“The SP Cruiser addresses the sailor who might be thinking about giving up pulling strings and going to a powerboat but really doesn’t want to give up the peace and beauty of sailing,” said Bill Bolin, Island Packet’s vice president of sales and marketing. “It is great for those with seasonal shortcomings and has been very popular in northern climes where the enclosed deckhouse extends the sailing season.”
The deckhouse separates the SP’s two cockpits. The aft cockpit has push-button sailing controls, bench seats (but there is room for folding chairs) and leads, through an opening transom, to a broad swim platform. Sailing is kept clean and simple with StoWinches for lines, a Hoyt boom and in-mast mainsail furling. The forward cockpit looks like the cockpit on a traditional aft-cockpit boat with a table and seats, but with no wheel, chartplotter or lines to clutter it up. It’s the ultimate place to relax, and Bolin said that some owners of the original SP Cruiser model use a boom tent over the cockpit for shade.
The crew in the forward cockpit communicates with the helm, inside the deckhouse, through an opening center windshield. All the windows in the deckhouse are category A, ocean rated.
The helmsman and electronics are all inside the deckhouse—this is the trawler influence on the sailboat. A large console mounted forward of the wheel has the engine controls and instrumentation. An optional autopilot, with wireless handheld control, is available.
A boat like this is meant for motion in rain or shine, so exterior teak is used only on a few steps surfaces to minimize maintenance. Belowdecks is finished in laminate, hardwoods, Berber-style marine carpet and molded nonslip surfaces in the head, galley and navigation areas.
The owner’s stateroom is the V-berth, with an island-style double berth and two hanging lockers. Just aft of the owner’s stateroom is a large head and separate stall shower and electric-flush head, with access from the owner’s cabin or the saloon. A guest stateroom with two single berths and plenty of storage, including a hanging locker, is aft.
Some boats this size have as many as four cabins, but the SP Cruiser Mk 2 is meant for a different kind of lifestyle than those boats, one where getting to a destination is as much fun as being there.