Island Packet's founder and current CEO/Chief Designer, Bob Johnson, has teamed with his old buddy Tim Jacket, ex-President and Chief Designer at Tartan and C&C, to begin producing a "performance cruiser" called the Blue Jacket 40. The BJ40 is planned to be the first in a series of boats to come out of this collaboration. They'll be built at Island Packet's facilities and are said to be a melding of Bob's cruising design expertise and Tim's performance prowess. Looking at the Blue Jacket 40, I can clearly see the performance features (twin wheels, deep bulb keel, spade rudder, plumb bow) but the coach house and overall look from the deck up give away the Island Packet connection. The cabin itself seems very cruiser-friendly and the Solent (twin headsail) rig and self-tacking Hoyt jib boom are definitely nice features for long passages. Still, if given the choice, I'll take an Island Packet Estero. Or better yet, an IP485. If you're reading this Bob, how about making me a steal of a deal on an Estero demo boat?
In all seriousness, all of these boats are out of my price range, but I'm interested to see if any of the modern features in the Blue Jacket's design eventually find their way into Island Packet's lineup. Bob has been a staunch promoter of IP's "full foil keel" design for years, but will he adapt this based Blue Jacket success? What about the infused composite hulls and decks on the Blue Jackets? Will they become unseen "upgrades" to the IP line?
|Blue Jacket 40 - See the Island Packet influence?|
I spoke with Bill Bolin, VP of Sales & Marketing at Island Packet, and was given permission to share an interesting interview with Bob and Tim that first appeared on the new Blue Jacket website. Have a read for yourself and see if you think this new design and unique collaboration will add anything to the well-seasoned racer-cruiser formula.
An Interview with Bob Johnson and Tim Jacket