Island Packet has a new Bob Johnson-designed catamaran that appears to be aimed at a similar market to that of the Endeavourcat. The emphasis is on comfort and space wrapped together in a good-looking package.

The Island Packet Packet Cat 35 under sail.

The Island Packet Packet Cat 35 under sail.

Again, don't go comparing the aesthetics of cruising cats with that of the Concordia Yawl. You will have to adjust your glasses and establish some new benchmarks for beauty when comparing the new breed of cruising cats to monohulls. Cats are definitely volume-oriented designs and tend to be on the bulky side. The trick is to see who best handles the bulk.

The hull design of the Packet Cat 35 features a center pod section that seems to be Island Packet's answer to the Endeavour's Hydra-cell. Island Packet calls this protuberance its Deltapod. The idea behind Island Packet's design is that the pod will be submersed at all times and act to break up the waves between the two main hulls and soften the ride. Designer Johnson says that the wake created by the pod allows them to increase the clearance between the bridgedeck and the waves, reducing the discomfort due to wave impacts between the hulls.

My question is this: If the pod is immersed to any degree at all when the boat is at rest, aren't we looking at a boat with three hulls, in fact a hybrid cat-trimaran? I'm probably stretching it, but you see my point. We are now shoving three shapes through the water, further increasing wetted surface. Keep in mind that this pod also allows the designer to lower the sole of the main cabin while maintaining headroom and may provide more interior than hydrodynamic benefits.

The two small keels give this craft a 2 foot, 6 inch draft. Beam is 15 feet and the D/L ratio is 165. I like the sheerline of this design. The general appearance of this design suits my traditional eye.

The rig deserves a close look. While the Endeavourcat pushed the mast forward to reduce foretriangle, the Island Packet cat's mast has been pushed aft to increase the foretriangle. This minimizes the size of the main and maximizes the area of the foretriangle. Most people would think that bigger mains and smaller jibs are easier to handle, but with roller furling, it may be just the opposite. I notice when cruising that some sailors opt for just unrolling their jibs and leaving the mains furled, indicating that it is easier not having to deal with the mainsail. Notice that on this design the mainsail roach overlaps the backstay. Note also that the foretriangle is not masthead, and the tack of the genoa is out on a platform-bowsprit extension. The SA/D ratio is 19.1.

What a great layout this is for two couples. The accommodations are virtually equal for each couple, with the exception that the port side stateroom is separated from the head area for access from the main cabin to the hanging locker. The starboard cabin has an adjoining head. Each head has a shower stall. The galley is roomy with a big refrigeration compartment. The dining table stows folded against the starboard bulkhead outboard of the swivel chair. There is a convenient serving window to allow food to be passed to the cockpit.

The Island Packet cat has a very large cockpit with easy access from the stern boarding platforms on each hull up to the veranda level and from there to the cockpit through the open coaming. The flush foredeck makes for excellent sun lounging space. All lines are led aft to the cockpit on the housetop, and the sheet winches are conveniently lined up along the aft coaming.

The Island Packet cat is powered by twin 27-horsepower freshwater-cooled diesels. There are tanks for 50 gallons of fuel and 100 gallons of water. I would estimate that this horsepower and the chine-style hulls will give this cat a top speed under power of close to nine knots, but perhaps 10 would be possible.

Boat Specifications

Displacement11,000 lbs.
Sail Area600 sq. ft.
SA/D ratio19.1
D/L ratio165
Fuel55 gals.
Water140 gals.
AuxiliaryTwin 27 hp FWC


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.