Friday, August 1, 2008


We saved the 35' Island Packet for last on this boat-shopping trip. The 35' is really 35 feet as opposed to the 350, which is 32' plus the swim platform. 35' is only three feet longer than Isabella, but that's 10% larger-- like adding almost 200 square feet to our house -- or a 10 x 10 room. We were interested to see how well that extra space was used above and below.

Unfortunately the tricked out 35' we wanted to see was undergoing bottom painting, so we had to look at one in lesser condition. There were a lot of things conspiring against this particular boat.

First, I have a REALLY hard time overlooking flaws when I step onto a boat. That could be because I'm a perfectionist, but I think it's because I'm also a realist with a really good imagination. When I see badly varnished teak, my muscles start aching as I imagine myself sanding, bleaching, sanding, varnishing. Ugh. It ain't easy to get past that and imagine the boat in perfect condition. THEN I can get to wondering if I like it.

Second, it was a 98 degree day, and the broker didn't have the forethought (or the brain cells) to open the hatches to cool it down.

Third, the broker was a goober. He talked incessantly about things we already knew and couldn't answer any of the questions about what we didn't know.

Fourth, the boat was out of the water and stripped of canvas, which makes it hard to judge the scale above decks. All the sails were piled below making the interior difficult to judge. Another broker issue.

Despite all that, we steeled ourselves to judge the 35' as fairly and accurately as we could manage amidst sweat and broker blather.

Up top, the 35' seemed totally manageable, not significantly bigger than Isabella. The equipment was similar.

Below, the payoff was huge.

The positives as compared with Isabella:
--a whole extra cabin, aft, port side (back left if you're looking forward). It's a surprisingly spacious little cabin with an almost rectangular bed. Funny how that becomes important on a boat. Can you imagine going to a mattress store and asking for a rectangular bed? LOL
--awesome kitchen. Much better layout than most we've seen. Ample storage. Smart arrangement.
--easy engine access -- from THREE sides. Huge.
--batteries under a settee. You can only appreciate this convenient placement if you've hovered in a harness in 18 inches of space above the engine and tried to lift out or refill batteries.
--all the IP clever features: fiberglass flooring around the hatch where you shed all the water, wood in the salon; dust bin built into the floor; fold-up counter beside sink; convenient bathroom layout

The negatives:
--the v-berth was disappointingly similar to Isabella's. We were hoping for larger or wider. We're still trying to track down the dimensions.
--I can't think of anything else we didn't like.

The IP 35 is on the short list. Very short list with the 350.

Our broker, Michelle, thinks we need to have a look at the IP37'. And so we will. We can't buy a boat until other major pieces fall into place anyway.

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