Gozzard Yachts vs. Island Packet Yachts

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.

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  1. says: larry post

    I am on my secong Gozzard. I had a G37, than sold it and bought a G44. Its a great Boat. Sails exceptionally well. I also won the 2009 Figawi in the L division! I find the boat very comfortable underway and at the dock. Mike Gozzzard builds a world class product and he is always available for service. I feel I’m getting 90% of a Morris or Hinkley at 60% of the price.

  2. says: ron

    Gozzard wants you to have a choice.

    In a G36/37 the open plan works well. In the larger boats 42′, 44′, and 50′, the traditional forward cabin is desirable to those who want the privacy it affords.

  3. says: Mike Shawen

    I have an ’86 Gozzard 36 (it was called a 36 at that time though it is the same hull as the 37. She sail beautifuuly even in strong wind offshore and, despite the long “modified fin,” she turns on a dime. She is a joy to sail. The salon in the forepeak is our favorite feature, as it converts in seconds to a private queen stateroom. The open quarter also is, in seconds, a private double stateroom. The design below is inspired, which makes me wonder why in the plans you posted, Gozzard returned to the fixed stateroom.

  4. The saloon forward design isn’t even unique to Gozzard and now Island Packet. There are several others that have the design such as many Hinterhoeller’s Nonsuch line, Lyle Hess’s Nor’Sea 27, and a Cheoy Lee (Offshore?) which I can’t recall the length or model name of. I personally like non-traditional cabin layouts. I’m a huge fan of the pullman berth such as that found on the Hans Christian 33t.

  5. says: ron

    I’ll be glad to participate in your testing this spring since I have a Gozzard 44B MKII here in the heart of IP country in Rock Hall, MD.

  6. says: ron

    Great blog Bill!
    Gozzard redesigned their hulls in 2000 making them better performers upwind and in light air.
    It’s be interesting to see them compared side-by-side at the Annapolis Show this Fall.