The new Island Packet 360 shares the same hull and rig as last year’s Estero, but incorporates a more conventional interior layout, making it a very different boat.
Island Packets have a reputation for longevity and strength and carry a 10-year warranty against blisters and delamination. The 360's pressure-infused hull is made of knitted fiberglass fabrics, and the deck has a proprietary PolyCore core. A molded structural grid transfers rig loads to the hull; the lead ballast is fully encapsulated in the keel.
Island Packet’s plumbing, propulsion and electrical systems are of equal quality to any high-end custom yacht. There is good access to the engine and drive train through the companionway steps, side panels and an aft panel.
The single-spreader aluminum mast carries a cutter rig with an in-mast mainsail, a self-tacking Hoyt Boom staysail and an outer jib, set on Harken furlers. Deck gear is by Harken and Lewmar.
The side decks are wide but secure, thanks to high toerails, good antiskid and well-placed grabrails. The ground tackle is properly sized and is set up for easy handling. The cockpit is wide and comfortable, with places for short sailors to brace their feet, and good sightlines forward for the helmsman.
Island Packet interiors are invariably nicely finished and very comfortable. The 360 has a pair of wonderfully relaxing swivel reclining chairs with a small table between them, a sensible substitute for the ubiquitous settee berth. It’s true that a traditional settee-berth is useful for a full crew on a long passage, but the chairs are increasingly preferred by couples on coastal cruises.
The aft chair swivels around to make a dandy seat for the navigator, who can brace himself and sit comfortably at an adjustable nav desk with the electronic displays and distribution panel close at hand. The familiar fold-down table on the main bulkhead will serve four, while the end of the port settee has an extension that forms an excellent footrest for lounging.
We played around with a number of different sail combinations in a steady 12-14 knot wind on a beautiful autumn day on the Chesapeake. The full main and staysail kept the boat nicely balanced and comfortable at a moderate heel angle, yielding 5 knots of speed to windward and 6 knots on a beam reach. When we unrolled half of the jib, our speed went up to 7 knots on a reach with no increase in heeling. When we reefed the main and unrolled the full jib, the tacking angle went down to 90 degrees and the helm became perfectly neutral. What works for this boat clearly is to reduce the main first as the wind picks up, while maintaining a full foretriangle and only reefing the jib as necessary. The jib moved across smoothly through every tack on our test sail, the staysail took care of itself, and the ride was like that of a luxury car. Nice and easy.
Under power, our test boat’s MaxProp folding propeller developed 6.4 knots of speed at an easy 2,200 rpm with a moderate 77 dBA sound level in the main cabin. The turning circle is about 1.5 boatlengths. Using the optional bow thruster, I controlled the boat easily around docks in the 14-knot crosswind.
HEADROOM 6ft 5in
BERTHS 6ft 4in x 2ft 4in x 7ft 4in (fwd); 6ft 5in x 3ft 9in x 6ft 5in (aft)
LOA 36ft 5in // LWL 31ft 6in // BEAM 12ft 4in
DRAFT 4ft // DISPLACEMENT 19,300lb
BALLAST 7,500lb // SAIL AREA 831ft2 (100% FT)
FUEL/WATER/WASTE (GAL) 55/110/30
ENGINE 40hp Yanmar
ELECTRICAL 200AH (house); 100AH (engine)
DESIGNER Bob Johnson
BUILDERIsland Packet Yachts, Largo FL, 888-724-5479