Attention to Detail

A little eavesdropping on the dock at this year’s Newport International Boat Show told the story: it’s the attention to detail that impressed the sailors who clambered aboard the Island Packet 40.

Island Packet spent a lot of time working out the details on this 40-foot cutter, making the boat comfortable, practical, and functional. Rated CE ISO Category A for unrestricted offshore use, this sailboat boasts a number of common-sense safety features that are often missing from today’s production boatslike the four hinged padeyes mounted in the cockpit as standard equipment, and the 40’s continuous teak handrails that extend the full length of the cabin trunk, providing welcome, solid hand-holds. “Take ground tackle, for example,” said Bill Bolin, sales and marketing director. “Designers forget that anchor, chain, and rode are safety equipment, and must be fast and easy to use. We designed the 40’s bowsprit as a big, extended anchor platform.”

Down below, the cabin lends itself to comfortable living with two double state rooms, each with a head. The forward head, tucked into the bow, may be of questionable use for offshore work but certainly would be a convenience in port. Of course, the same could be said for the state room’s double berthsgreat on the hook, but dicey when wind and wave pipe up offshore. But that’s why lee cloths are an option for the main cabin settees.

The hull is a solid glass laminate made up of a triaxial knitted fabric, twice the strength-to-weight ratio of conventional hull laminate schedules, according to Bolin, but with roughly five times the impact resistance. And a proprietary deck coring system matches the hull’s 10-year osmosis warranty with a the same guarantee against deck degradation. Another nice detail that should pay dividends down the road is the resin-encapsulated plywood used in the boat, providing a moisture barrier to help prevent future delamination and rot.

The Island Packet crew has paid attention to the mechanical details, too. Each boat is fitted with a second fuel pump mounted on the engine room access door solely to make bleeding the fuel system easy. Every bit of wiring on the boat is tinned UL boat cable, Bolin said. “It’s three times the cost of normal wiring, but it’s the right thing to put on the boatwe know it’s going to last a very long time.”

The list of details goes on: the rugged, stainless steel tie-down bar across the battery storage boxes; a teak grate with chamfered edges over a vacuum-formed dust pan in the cabin sole (try standing on grates with and without the chamfering to believe how much your bare feet will appreciate this little detail); and a big, insulated locker in the cockpitperfect for ice, beverages, and the watch’s midnight snack. There’s also the dining table that hinges up out of the way to open up the cabin for entertaining and lounging and the teak fold-down shower seat in the aft head, in addition to the molded-in, slip-resistant cabin sole in the galley. And don’t forget the stainless steel locking pin for the companionway boards, the hinged electrical panels, and the built-in two-tank LPG locker.

It is the attention to detail large and small that sets a boat apart.

Island Packet Yachts 888-724-5479; www.boatshow.comIslandPacketYachts.html.

By Ocean Navigator