Seattle is a magnificent place to sail. The San Juan and Gulf Islands have a stunning natural beauty: lots of islands, rugged shorelines, towering firs and narrow passages. Add to this the prevailingly light summer northerlies and the occasional log in the water, and our sailboats need several features to be truly loved: performance, comfort, and structural integrity, all in an attractive package of course. The Blue Jacket 40 has them all.

Bue Jacket 40 boats we love

The Blue Jacket 40 is an ideal boat for cruising in the Pacific Northwest, according to James Nolan. Photo courtesy Blue Jacket Yachts.

A collaborative design by Tim Jackett (ex-President and Chief Designer at Tartan and C&C) and Bob Johnson (CEO and Chief Designer at Island Packet), the Blue Jacket 40 is built by Island Packet. Its hull and deck are vacuum infused 100% vinlyester resin with a structural foam core. The foam core is especially important in this part of the world because of the long periods of wet weather which can cause deterioration to other core choices.

That the boat was designed for performance and ease of handling is equally relevant. The prevailing northerly winds average less than 10 mph, so the majority of sailing is either upwind or downwind in light airs – reaching is not much of an option, especially in Puget Sound. The large cockpit with its twin wheel set up enables all sheets to lead to the primary winches located near each helm for ease of handling. Both attributes kick in big time if you want to perform well at Whidbey Island Race Week or the various other race series in this part of the world.

The standard interior is 3 cabins with an optional 2 cabin version also available. The 2 cabin version is the one I saw at the local dealer, Marine Service Center in Seattle, who say that 2 cabin boats are definitely the preference for this part of the world. The interior is calm, comfortable, and light without being overly bright. It is also practical with its lifting cabin table and large two door head forward. The large galley area is impressive and I was especially struck by the Vitifrigo stainless steel refrigerator/freezer and its deep pull-out drawers.

The Blue Jacket 40 is well worth a look and is on display at the Seattle Boat Show at South Lake Union January 24 - February 2.

Editor's note: Zuzana Prochazka included the Blue Jacket 40 in her Ten Top Sailboats of 2013. For more information about this great design, read

  • <a " title="Permanent Link to Tim Jackett: Tartan, Blue Jacket, and Jackett Yacht Design" href="" rel="bookmark">Tim Jackett: Tartan, Blue Jacket, and Jackett Yacht Design

  • <a " title="Permanent Link to Blue Jacket 40: Performance Cruiser Kismet" href="" rel="bookmark">Blue Jacket 40: Performance Cruiser Kismet

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Written by: James Nolan
James Nolan is a former General Manager of and He has managed a number of well known companies including Autohelm, Barlow and Navtec. He has his own PR/marketing agency and writes a monthly column for Boating Business in the U.K.