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Island Packet SP Cruiser

2010 February 1


I've given up trying to come up with a concise definition of "motorsailer." I think sometimes it's more a state of mind than it is a combination of design features. The new Island Packet SP Cruiser is designer Bob Johnson's idea of what a motorsailer is.

The SP is 41 feet, 1 inch LOA and has an extended swim-step stern. I don't have a working dimension but it looks to me like this extension to the stern, similar to what you see in a good many trawler yachts, is about 36 inches long. It is a substantial extra amount of hull and DWL. The keel is the trademark IP full keel but with this model you have the option of having a skeg-hung rudder well aft or the standard IP semi-balanced rudder sitting on a gudgeon strut. The skeg-hung rudder is as far aft as it can be and I'm sure this model would steer better than the other version. I like having the rudder as far aft as reasonably possible. The D/L is 245 and the L/B is 3.22.

Where this hull form differs from the typical "sailing yacht" is that the broad transom intersects the waterplane, i.e. there is no overhang aft. This is a powerboat-style hull form that is not at its best at slow speeds under sail. But with a 110-horsepower engine this boat will motor at 8-plus knots all day.

There are two cockpits in this design. The aft cockpit is the traditional type with a transom door, but there is no wheel or tiller there and the housetop covers the entire cockpit for protection. The wheel is in the pilothouse. The forward cockpit is cut into the middle of the forward cabintrunk with the coaming extending forward of the mast. There is no wheel in this cockpit either. You do your steering from the pilothouse or you use your autopilot handheld control. I don't see any easy access to this forward cockpit from the pilothouse. There is a large hatch in the forward end of the pilothouse and there is also a large opening central window but I don't think these make for good cockpit access. It does look like a nice place to lounge. All lines are led aft to a single electric winch. I had a long talk with Bob not too long ago and he is hot on the trail of push-button sail control systems with sheets held captive on drums. I'm certain we will be seeing this on an IP in the near future.

The layout is clever with two staterooms. The aft stateroom extends under the sole of the pilothouse to starboard. The forward stateroom features a centerline double berth. The galley is a bit unusual as it is designed to use the space under where the forward cockpit intrudes into the interior volume. I think this galley would work very well. The "saloon" is the pilothouse and that makes sense to me. The pilothouse is where you will want to spend most of your time.

The rig is very simple and short in keeping with motorsailer proportions. The SA/D is 14.1, but you can add to this with an optional light-air reacher set from the bow platform. The standard jib is self-tacking on a Hoyt boom. The mainsail is furled inside the mast.

There is a lot of comfort in this design if you spend more time motoring than you do sailing.

LOA 41'1"; LWL 34'9"; Beam 12'9"; Draft 3'8"; Displacement 23,000 lbs.; Ballast 5,000 lbs.; Sail area 714 sq. ft.; SA/D 14.1; D/L 245; L/B 3.22; Auxiliary Yanmar 4JH4-HTBE 110-hp; Fuel 220 gals.; Water 130 gals.

Island Packet Yachts, 1979 Wild Acres Rd., Largo, FL 33771, (888) 724-5479, www.ipy.com.

OBE: $449,950
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