Boats

2010 Best Boats Accommodations: Island Packet Estero

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A boat is often defined by its interior accommodation plan. An ocean voyager needs stowage and snug sea berths, while a family cruising coastwise wants open space to enjoy at anchor. It's a rare designer who can blend a world cruiser hull with a short-hop interior, but that's what designer Bob Johnson has done with the Island Packet Estero.

Johnson adapted the forward saloon layout seen in a few limited production boats (notably the Gozzard line), and took advantage of the midship space thus created to move things around. The forward third of any boat is odd-shaped and susceptible to motion, so the traditional V-berth layout rarely yields much comfort. Use that triangle for a table and U-shaped seats, and it's perfect at anchor or dockside. The Island Packet hull is broader forward than most designs, so the dining/social area can be spacious.

That allowed Johnson to put a large head compartment with separate shower amidships, across from the galley, where boat motion is minimized. He's also created a clever combination of berth and nav station aft to starboard, using the end of the berth as the nav seat. That's not unusual by itself, but the Estero version incorporates a fold-up nav table and a privacy door to optimize all functions of the area.

For a 36-footer, the aft cabin is sizable. It's true that a forward master cabin could have more headroom, but the bigger bunk is a pretty good tradeoff. The forward settees are big enough to sleep on and the dinette can also be converted into a big double berth, albeit one with no privacy. In all, the layout is a practical choice for a coastal cruising couple with a child or occasional guests. For more information, visit ipy.com

SPECS

LOA: 36ft 5in LWL with Opt. Swim Platform: 38ft 5in Beam: 12ft 4in Draft: 4ft Displacement: 17,800lbs Ballast: 7,100lbs Sail Area (100% ft): 708 sq. ft Designer: Bob Johnson

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