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Island Packet 31 strengths and issues

Sep 13, 2019
2
Island Packet 31 Kemah, TX
Hi y’all,
I am looking to by my first cruiser, and was hoping to get some input on the strengths, quirks, and issues to look for when looking for a used Island Packet 31.
Appreciate your help in advance!
 
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Dave Groshong

SBO Staff
Staff member
Jan 25, 2007
1,484
Catalina 22 Seattle
I'm sure you've Googled it, I personally looked at one and thought it was a good boat and value at $55k:
 
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SG

Feb 11, 2017
1,464
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
Where are you planning to cruise? What is YOUR skill level?
Beyond those questions...
How many crew and occasional guests?
How often do you sail, and for what continuous duration?
What are the expectations of your crew? (are you singlehanding most of the time?)
What do you want to do with the boat?

If you want to know the physical issues with that particular Island Packet, and you've made-up your mind, WHY DID YOU CHOSE IT?
 
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Joe

Jun 1, 2004
6,770
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Beyond those questions...
How many crew and occasional guests?
How often do you sail, and for what continuous duration?
What are the expectations of your crew? (are you singlehanding most of the time?)
What do you want to do with the boat?

If you want to know the physical issues with that particular Island Packet, and you've made-up your mind, WHY DID YOU CHOSE IT?
I don't get it... the poster asks the questions, we try to answer them...…. he's already decided on the boat.. he just wants help in getting a good one. All the questions are immaterial.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,148
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
I don't get it... the poster asks the questions, we try to answer them...…. he's already decided on the boat.. he just wants help in getting a good one. All the questions are immaterial.
Joe, he asked if a particular boat is a good "cruiser". That term is not really defined universally. I know people who "cruise" the ICW from Maine to Florida every year. Go to Georgetown in the Bahamas and you meet people who make the trip from Florida to Georgetown and then barely move. We "cruise" the Caribbean. Cap'n Fatty "cruises" around the world. So understanding what the OP means and who may be with him is part of figuring out if that boat fits him.
 
Sep 13, 2019
2
Island Packet 31 Kemah, TX
Appreciate the tip on the aluminum tanks!
Thanks all, I have not decided on the boat per se, but I do appreciate the insights that more experienced sailors have. Good point on “cruiser” - that was vague. My cruising companions, be it coastal or elsewhere, are new to sailing and I would like to have a boat that is capable , sea-kindly, and although I would be fine with a narrower beam and stronger performance upwind, the rest of the crew is currently not on board with that idea.
To questions about use:
Singlehanded with moderate assistance
2-3 days max for the next few years I would guess
Coastal cruising, occasional regattas, currently reside inTX, so Gulf Coast

Any other general or specific problems to be wary of when considering an IP31?
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,148
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Appreciate the tip on the aluminum tanks!
Thanks all, I have not decided on the boat per se, but I do appreciate the insights that more experienced sailors have. Good point on “cruiser” - that was vague. My cruising companions, be it coastal or elsewhere, are new to sailing and I would like to have a boat that is capable , sea-kindly, and although I would be fine with a narrower beam and stronger performance upwind, the rest of the crew is currently not on board with that idea.
To questions about use:
Singlehanded with moderate assistance
2-3 days max for the next few years I would guess
Coastal cruising, occasional regattas, currently reside inTX, so Gulf Coast

Any other general or specific problems to be wary of when considering an IP31?
Given your new information my personal opinion would be to go with as new of a production boat in the 30-35 foot range you can afford. You are going to be a fair weather sailor until your crew is more comfortable. Even when caught in a storm, the boat can take more than the crew anyways. The newer boats have a more comfortable layout. They will be easier to get your crew to enjoy time on the boat. And if it doesn't work out you will be able to sell it easier with less of a loss (you never make money on boats ).

good luck
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,159
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
A couple of general comments.

Most boat builders are not all that creative about production methods between boat models. Generally, comments and reviews about boats from the same vintage from the same builder are worth reading. So, if you can find reviews of IP 27s, 29, 31s, etc the strengths and weaknesses will be similar.

In general IPs are heavy, broad beamed boats with a kindly sea motion. The draft tends to be shallow for the size of boat. These are boats designed to go off the wind and do not go to weather all that well, i.e., they do not point as high as a more performance sail boat with a deeper fin keel. Remember, gentlemen don't sail to weather. :)

Construction is general good and above average. If I recall correctly some of the IPs had ports that were only screwed in with self-tapping screws rather than being through bolted. And there are the usual concerns about all older boats, with leaking fittings, wet cores, older hoses and rigging and so forth.

If you want to get somewhere comfortably, the IP may be the boat for you. If you want to get there quickly, an IP is not the boat for you.
 
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Jan 1, 2006
4,209
Marblehead Skiff 14' Greenport, NY
That is a cruising boat. It's build to sail primarily off the wind. It will be a comfortable ride and track like a railroad car. According to sailboatdata.com. the 31 is cutter rigged which seems right. A cutter will not point like a sloop rig will. But it is considered good for cruising with many sail configurations and smaller sails to handle. Generally folks don't tack cutter rigged boats as much as sloops. Com Pac has a reputation for building strong boats.
 
Feb 11, 2017
405
C&C 27 MkII Ottawa
I know Island Packet has a reputation for being "sea kindly" and solidly built but there are other things to consider. Smaller boats are more affected by the environment than larger boats, both in water line length and displacement. This is with regard to wind, waves and even rain. Bigger boats generally have more room to stay out of the weather. For the the same price as an Island Packet 31 you might get something like a Catalina 34. Looking at the numbers, they have about the same capsize ratio and motion comfort numbers (FWIW) but the Catalina has a PHRF rating around 145 compared to the IP 31 at around 200. The Catalina has more room below and will travel faster which both add to comfort since you will be at the anchorage (or dock) faster.
You mentioned single handing, the Catalina 34 actually has less sail area than the IP 31 so, if rigged comparably, might actually be easier to single hand and will also be more maneuverable despite being a bigger boat.
I threw the Catalina 34 out there because there are a lot of them out there so easy to find but you could swap that out with numerous other performance cruising boats like Pearson, Islander, C&C, CS (the 33 is a sweet boat) etc.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
3,363
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
So, Admiral and I sailed as crew/guests on a friend’s IP 37 (Cutter) from Tierra Verde, Fl to the Dry Tortugas and back, a few yr ago. Plus, my dock neighbor (slip next to me) of five or so years had the IP 380. They are beautiful, well crafted yachts. But, they are very slow in light airs. Cutters are not great for day sailing if there is much tacking involved. The cockpit of the 37 was fully enclosed which was much appreciated when the T-storms came through nearly every night at Dry Tortugas.

Leaving Dry Tortugas the wind had been blowing from the east at > 15 kt for two or three days. Once beyond the influence of the reefs, there was significant sea conditions which we sailed on a reach a little fwd of the beam for several hr; mainsail and staysail. It was a very comfortable ride with a decent turn of speed. Later, toward evening, as the wind began abating, the boat could not make its course as well going more up wind. Eventually, we motored through most of the night with fairly “small” seas (maybe 3 ft) arriving on the bow. The yacht hobby-horsed very uncomfortably every few wave sets to the point where it was nearly stopped at times. That was a long night with a lot of uncomfortable motion below. Once we arrived at Ft Meyers and entered the ICW going back, the yacht was very comfortable once again. I think the weight aft (davits; dink + outboard) might have contributed to the hobby-horsing.

Personally, I would not buy one myself; not with all of the choices out there these days. The cutter is good if you are actually going to be out there in significant sea conditions for long passages. But if not, a straight sloop might be the better choice.
 
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