When classical musicians start playing rock and roll, fans take note. When their first songs a hit, everyone listens to the lyrics. Bob Johnson, Bill Bolin, and the Island Packet Yachts (IP) crew have decades of experience delivering traditional cruisers to appreciative owners, but IPs newest player has increased the tempo.
The fiber-to-resin ratio was increased through a vacuum-assisted resin infusion, a process that better wets out the laminate and simultaneously squeezes out all the excess resin. The mechanical properties and blister resistance of vinylester resin are better than its polyester cousin, and this uptick in materials and laminating process dovetailed with the use of Divinycell foam to deliver a strong, stiff, one-piece hull with a an inward-turning flange. The BJ40 hull carries a 10-year warranty against osmotic blistering.
Every day, as the temperature rises and falls, gases inside your fuel tank expand and contract. The emissions released during this diurnal breathing have raised concerns at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in July 2011, the agency mandated passive carbon canister filters on all installed gasoline-tank vent lines to collect fuel evaporation emissions. While older boats are not required to retrofit, we wondered how such a filter would affect fuel quality and engine performance-and whether carbon is the most effective filter media-so we launched tests using E10, gasoline, and diesel to find out.
Florida-based Island Packet targets a relatively narrow niche, so the toughest competitors to its new boats are often older Island Packets. Introduced in 2010, the 36-foot, shoal-draft Estero is the company’s latest attempt to introduce a distinctive model that doesn’t stray too far from the company’s proven formula for success: moderate displacement, full-keel cruisers designed to be lived on, sailed far and in comfort, and endure the bumps, scrapes, and storms that cruising boats inevitably encounter. After sailing the Estero on Florida’s Sarasota Bay and inspecting its interior, construction, and systems, Practical Sailor testers noted that the shoal-water cruiser will appeal strongest to Island Packet fans who’ve been waiting for a shoal-draft, easy-to-sail boat that compares to the IP37 in terms of interior space. These strengths will be most apparent on intracoastal or riverine adventures like the Great Loop.
Island Packet Yachts has been building cruising boats for over 32 years. It builds five different hull designs—about 80 boats per year—to American Boat and Yacht Council and European Category A (offshore) standards.
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy recently received its newest sail training boat: the Leadership 44. Built by Morris Yachts, a company best known for high-end, custom sailboats, the Leadership 44 was designed by David Pedrick, whose resume includes America’s Cup boats and many capable cruisers. The Leadership 44 has all the necessary features of a 24/7 underway workboat—offshore sleeping berths, ventilation in rough weather, a galley and head that work well underway, and a sail plan that’s efficient and easy to handle. With a displacement of 26,000 pounds, the L44 is strong and stiff, yet reasonably lightweight for a boat of that size. Civilian versions of the design will be making their way to the market soon and would be worth considering for bluewater cruising duty.
The Leadership 44 is built in Morris Yachts’ factory on Mt. Desert Isle, Maine, using advanced building materials and construction. Known for its precision semi-custom boat building, the company was launched in 1972 by the late Tom Morris. His son, Cuyler, is now the president and chief development officer.
Practical Sailor recently test sailed Hunter Marine’s new Hunter 33, a redesign of the company’s popular compact cruiser. The most noticeable difference between the new Hunter 33 and its predecessor is the new deck plan, which includes a hinged transom cutout that folds down into a swim platform, offering more cockpit space and an expanded main cabin. The hull and steering setup also have seen some revamping, and testers found the boat to be fun to sail, even with in-mast furling and a batten-less main in the test boat. For a new, entry-level cruiser priced at $160,000, the Hunter 33 has a lot going for it.
We think the best bet is the modern keel/centerboard. Unlike centerboards of 20 years ago, the new ones are very efficient going to windward with the boards down and not all that bad with the boards partially raised or withdrawn into a stub keel.