Shake off the idea that low-tech is bad. The amount of modern technology applied to a particular design may be more a function of that owner's personal intensity level on the water rather than a measure of design and building skills. Visitors to my office often ask why I have photos of jet fighters on the wall. They're planes flown by some of my clients who own full-keel yachts.

A photo of the Island Packet 45 sailboat underway.

The Island Packet 45.

It sure is easy to spot an Island Packet. They just get longer while maintaining a very precise set of aesthetic earmarks. The best way to tell the various models apart may be to count the portlights. Is this a criticism? I think so. But, designer Bob Johnson has a winning combination here as evidenced by the sheer numbers of Island Packets out on the water, so why mess with it?

By textbook definition, the 45 is a full-keeled yacht. There is no distinction between the forefoot and the leading edge of the keel, which probably means the boat will be forgiving to sail, easy to haul out and free of the potential structural problems associated with high-aspect-ratio fins. I would guess that the 45 has all the directional stability you could imagine. It won't turn on a dime, but it will go straight with little effort. Underwater plan form and rig location probably ensure that this will be a boat with a fingertip, gentle helm. I would also add that if you haven't sailed modern full-keel yachts you might be surprised at their performance. I don't suggest hardening up while to leeward of a Reichel/Pugh One-Design 48, but when you line up all the criteria for a good cruising boat, this style of keel might (depending on your own style) make a lot of sense.

The D/L of this design is a surprisingly low 238, based upon an "estimated" displacement of 28,400 pounds. Still, any time you can get the D/L of a full-keel boat below 300, you are doing well. The way in which the big rudder is hung allows some balance area to the rudder, which will lighten up helm loads. Judging by the expanses of cabin sole shown in the interior layout, I would guess the hull is quite flat in section, with a good hard turn to the bilge for stiffness.

The short bowsprit allows the headstay to be pulled forward, opening up room in the foretriangle for both the jib and a staysail to be carried together. The staysail tack is pulled aft enough to let the genoa come through the gap between the stays with only a minimal amount of cursing and wear and tear on the genoa. The SA/D is 17.18 including the area of the staysail. This is cheating: you should just use the I and J measurements in this calculation. If you use just the basic foretriangle dimensions you get an SA/D of 16, but that's not so bad for this type of design.

The interior is laid out for two couples. Both staterooms have adjoining heads, and there is a nice nav station in this layout. It's big enough for two to stand and ponder the charts. Note the convenient wet locker outboard of the nav seat. The front of the boat features a Pullman-style berth with the head forward.

Island Packet produces a handsomely outfitted and detailed boat. When I walk down the dock in my "design police" mood, I have to admit that these boats look great.

A winning combination handsome enough to please the "design police."

Boat Specifications
Displacement28,400 lbs.;
Ballast12,500 lbs.;
Sail Area931 sq. ft. (1,100 sq. ft. including staysail);
SA/D16 (17 including staysail);
Auxiliary62-horsepower FWC diesel;
Fuel140 gals.;
Water240 gals.


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