Thursday, October 15, 2009


After the Annapolis Sailboat Show, we took a side trip to Rock Hall, Maryland, to look at boats (just like we did last year). We plan to buy an Island Packet, but since we don't have a cool $300K, our pocketbook (packetbook?) limits us to used ones.

Island Packet has seven boats between 35 and 40 feet (not counting the new Estero). The differences between the various models gets tedious and just plain confusing. Chip has made charts to help us track the differences. Our goal was to narrow down our choices by seeing some of them side-by-side. We wanted to answer a few questions:
1. Are we sure we don't want a bigger boat, maybe a 40? Do the features outweigh the cost?
2. Should we spend 50-75% more for a 380?
3. Is the 37 different enough from the 35 to warrant spending 30-50% more?
4. Do we still like the 35 best for the money?

My next few posts will capture our thoughts and answers so we won't subsequently forget them (!). Since the 35 (not to be confused with the 350) is our front runner for now, I'll compare each boat to the 35. Today, question number one.

Island Packet 40:

The IP website has more info if you want to check out IP40s.  The one we looked at is a 1996 and is listed for $179,500 as compared to IP35s starting below $100K.

The layouts amongst the 35, 37, 38, 380 and 40 are very similar, but the extra feet on the 40 are used to add another bathroom in the bow. The unexpected consequence is that the salon is compressed. The settee angles out into the salon floor adding to that closed-in feeling. We didn't take a tape measure to it, but the salon feels smaller on the 40 than on the 35, and isn't it really about the feel?

Having that extra bath by the companionway would be awesome for use as a wet locker, but is it really worth an extra $70-80K? Besides, you trade one large bath for two small ones. The additional four feet of waterline adds comfort, but again, $70-80K worth?

It's more expensive to operate, maintain and even travel in a larger boat. The tradeoff would need to be substantial to make it worthwhile. The 40 didn't win us over.

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