You’ll see on yesterday’s post that the accommodations plan of new Island Packet Estero places the main saloon forward of the mast where most boats have a V-berth. At first glance I mistakenly thought this was a new idea until a reader reminded me of the fact that Gozzard Yachts have been doing that for years on their Gozzard 37 (pictured below).
Now I should have remembered this (I’ve tested Gozzards in the past and the Gozzard 37 was named one of SAIL’s Best Boats of 2002). I’m in charge of the judging for cripes sake. But, during my 14 years at SAIL, I’ve literally tested and sailed hundreds—maybe even a thousand, new boats, and the Gozzard’s accommodation plan slipped through the cracks in my cranium.
Anyway, that got me thinking. Gozzard vs. Island Packet. What differentiates the two? Both builders build heavy duty offshore cruising boats with traditional lines, and both pay lots of attention to craftsmanship. Both place a premium on offshore stability and seakindliness rather than keeping weight down to tease an extra fraction of a knot of boat speed out of the hull. I guess you could say that an Island Packet has a full keel and a Gozzard has an a fin, but that’s not entirely accurate. The Gozzard has more of an “almost full” keel (Gozzard calls it a “Modified fin”) with deep sections fore and aft, as well as a skeg-hung rudder and a fully protected prop. That may be a small distinction or it may not. The question is which one will sail better? I’m thinking of doing some side-by-side testing this spring to confirm this (and to refresh my memory), but my guess is, the Gozzard fin should be a bit more responsive, and a bit more weatherly, while the Island Packet’s full keel should track a bit better. But it’s probably safe to say that both boats (with husky displacements) will have a decidedly more comfortable motion in big wind and waves than lighter weight, fin keeled production boats with their wide flat aft sections and flatter entries. I’d love to hear from current Gozzard or Island Packet owners. What do you guys think? Is the comparison “Coke vs. Pepsi” or more like “apples and oranges”? I’d love to hear from you owners (or prospective owners) of each.
And check out Gozzard’s two new models on the drawing board. Both appear to follow Gozzard’s design philosophy of sturdy, comfortable, and seakindly. The N42 offers a raised saloon (a 42 footer provides enough interior volume for this more conventional lay out).
And the G50 is a big strong ketch.