Island Packet Announces the New Estero

January 2009, Largo, FL:  Island Packet Yachts, internationally known for their award winning line of blue water cruising sailboats, has announced their new Island Packet Estero. The Estero has been created in response to market demands for a smaller Island Packet model that offers all of the quality, comforts and capabilities synonymous with their larger yachts, with increased emphasis on ease of use and innovative new features.  Shipments will begin in late winter 2009.

Naval architect and company founder Bob Johnson says of his 26th new Island Packet design, “The Estero is destined to change the perception of the mid-thirty foot range of cruising yachts.  An innovative interior layout delivers more space, storage and livability than many 40 footers.  The fully roller furling and self-tending sloop rig provides great performance with simple controls, making sailing easier and more enjoyable than ever.  The Estero’s hull design continues the evolution of the Full Foil Keel®, providing a combination of benefits unmatched by any other keel configuration.  In short, the Estero represents the best of everything we’ve learned in our 30 year history.”

Founded by Bob Johnson, N.A. in 1979, Island Packet Yachts is the builder of cruising yachts from the mid-30’s to over 50 feet, sold through a network of dealers in the US, Europe and Australia.  With a 125,000 square foot (12,500 sq. meter) production facility located on 10 acres in Largo, Florida, Island Packet has created nearly 2,300 cruising yachts in its 30 years.  Well known as America’s Cruising Yacht Leaderâ„¢, the company has won numerous awards and become renowned worldwide for their yacht’s exceptional level of quality, safety, comfort, offshore race-winning performance and long term value.

Designer/Builder Comments – Estero

The Estero has been created in direct response to market demands for a smaller Island Packet model that offers all of the quality, comforts and capabilities synonymous with our larger yachts, with increased emphasis on ease of use and innovative new features.  I hope you’ll agree that this new model delivers on all counts, with a new look that blends the style of our earlier models with that of our latest designs.

Our decision to use a name for this new model (vs. a number) was made in part to reflect the evolutionary change the Estero represents in our 30 year history.  Also, “length” descriptions for Island Packets have sometimes been misleading, with virtually all of our prior models measuring and comparing favorably to competitor’s “larger” models.  By the way, our selection of “Estero” came from a long list of island names along Florida’s west coast, a tip of the hat both to our company’s geographic location and to the “island” in our name.

The new Estero features a fully roller furling and self-tending sloop rig.  With the self vanging feature of the Hoyt® boom equipped jib, both sails provide maximum performance and control on all points.  Sailing upwind will be particularly close winded thanks to the tight sheeting of the jib, and tacking requires no more crew activity than turning the helm.  Downwind performance is also optimized since the main and jib can be set “wing-and-wing”.  This is a simple and versatile rig that is easily set, reefed, furled and trimmed from the comfort and security of the cockpit.  There is also enough room forward of the jib stay to fly a code-zero or other (owner provided) larger headsail if desired for added performance in light conditions.

On deck, a number of features merit comment.  Sidedecks are recessed more than in past Island Packet designs, forming deeper bulwarks over the full length of the deck.    The hull-to-deck joint is an overlapping type (commonly referred to as a “shoe-box”) combining an adhesive bond between the deck and an inward hull flange with closely spaced bolts through the deck and hull around the yacht’s entire perimeter.  Cap rails and bowsprit/anchor platform are finished with textured gelcoat and a bootstripe-matching color vinyl rubrail with a polished stainless steel striker for low maintenance.  The integrally molded bowsprit has our patented self-stowing Sea Safe® anchor roller with ample room for a second anchor roller and an electric windlass.  Immediately aft of the bowsprit is a deck hatch providing access to the large divided forepeak for anchor rodes with room for an assortment of dock lines and fenders.  The cabin trunk features ten opening ports, five overhead hatches and two dorade vents to ensure plenty of light and ventilation.  All sail control lines are lead aft on the cabin top through sheet stoppers to two winches at the forward end of the cockpit.  Line bins in the coamings keep control lines tidy and always at hand.  Cockpit seats over seven feet long with ergonomic seat backs allow comfortable daysailing with a crowd or stretching out for a nap when passagemaking.  Newly designed seat hatches feature gasketed lids with the port seat hatch accessing a storage tray and the starboard side opening to a large locker.

Steering is by a geared rack and pinion system with a platform and keyway provided to facilitate an (owner/dealer) autopilot installation.  The teak helm seat doubles as a gasketed hatch that covers an LPG bottle storage area with room for the standard tank plus a spare.  Two sternrail seats are also included, plus side deck lifeline gates and a sternrail gate.  A molded fiberglass and teak stern boarding/swim platform is available that includes a pull-out swim ladder and steps to the cockpit.

The Estero’s interior arrangements represent a departure from past Island Packet designs with its main saloon situated forward of the mast in an “open-U” configuration.  The central drop-leaf table with two storage bins keeps this area open for socializing or, with drop leaves extended, makes for comfortable dining with guests.  Each settee is suitable for use as a single berth, or with the table dropped to berth height and an optional set of filler cushions this area makes into either one or two double berths.  Because tanks for water, fuel and holding are located below the cabin sole, generous storage is provided elsewhere throughout the interior including under the seat and berth cushions and behind the forward settee backrest.

Amidships, a U-shaped galley to port provides a host of desirable features.  Deep polished double stainless steel sinks, gimbaled 2-burner range with oven, ample storage above and below countertops, plus a dish rack, cutlery drawers, pull-out trash bin and a microwave oven should please weekend sailors as well as those making extended cruises.  Large, well insulated iceboxes are built with twin gasketed and latching countertop lids.  A deep drawer below the icebox and a locker under the stove hold larger items as well.  In recognition that some owners will choose to spend longer periods aboard the Estero, an optional package that includes refrigeration and freezer systems with an upgraded electrical system is available.

Opposite the galley to starboard is the spacious head compartment with separate shower stall and seat.  The vanity with sink has several storage areas, plus additional room is available in a cabinet outboard.  The shower area, provided with overhead hooks, may double as a wet locker when needed.

Aft of the head and to starboard of the companionway is the quarter berth cabin and navigation station.  A pocket door on an overhead track closes off this area when desired, and the hinged chart table drops to provide an open area forward of the berth.  Ample cabinetry is provided for the master electric panels plus a variety of owner/dealer installed electronic items including a typical chartplotter.  A tilt-out chart storage bin is located below the nav table, and a bureau and shelf are built-in outboard of the large berth. 

Aft of the galley and to port of the companionway is the private owner’s stateroom featuring a large double berth with innerspring mattress, hanging locker, bureau, shelf and a full length mirror.

Near the companionway is a courtesy light switch to illuminate the companionway ladder and electrical and battery panels.  Crib boards stow conveniently in a nearby rack.  Excellent engine access is provided with a removable panel behind the companionway ladder and through a hinged door and lift-off cover in the port stateroom.  Extensive sound insulation and gasketing minimizes sound levels.  A teak grate with dustpan at the base of the companionway ladder also provides bilge access, and sole surfaces in the galley, nav area and head are molded slip resistant patterns for safety and ease of maintenance.  The forward saloon has a varnished teak and holly sole, and the aft port stateroom is carpeted with a marine berber.  Cabinetry, trim and bulkheads are a combination of varnished hardwoods and high pressure laminates that make for a bright, attractive and functional interior consistent with Island Packet’s high standards.  Generous tankage includes a heavy wall, marine aluminum fuel tank and Thermo-Cureâ„¢ vinylester resin infused water and holding tanks.

The Estero hull design continues the evolution of the Full Foil Keel®, which provides the benefits of moderate draft, superior stability, protected rudder and prop, and integral keel construction that eliminates bolts and forms a double bottom with the fully encapsulated lead ballast.  The rudder geometry now incorporates a fixed skeg forward of the shaft to enhance steering control under both sail and power.

Whether one’s needs are for weekending and family vacations or for extended cruising, the new Estero is uniquely qualified to deliver on all counts.  Offering spirited sailing performance with exceptional ease of use, unrivaled safety and seakeeping, benchmark construction quality, plus livability, comfort and value that have earned Island Packet its worldwide reputation as America’s Cruising Yacht Leaderâ„¢, the Estero represents the best of everything we’ve learned in our thirty year history.

Bob Johnson, N.A

By Ocean Navigator