Island Packet Announces the IP 370
June 2003, Largo, FL
The biggest challenge in developing any new Island Packet is to create a yacht that will not only be the preferred choice compared to our competitors’ offerings, but even more importantly, the preferred choice compared to used Island Packet alternatives. Because of this, significant evolution with each of our new models is mandatory to keep new boat sales active and deliver an ever more desirable yacht to our consumer. I think the new 370 is poised to be another successful example of this ongoing process.
Outwardly, the 370 has a new look with a proportionately wider stern compared to prior Island Packet models. This provides a number of benefits including added sail carrying power, improved boat speed, more space for accommodations, equipment and stowage, as well as room for a larger stern platform.
The underbody of the 370 has integral fairings for the optional bow thruster, reducing drag underway and improving thruster response when docking. It seems more and more owners are selecting this handy option and it’s looking like the bow thruster will eventually be as popular as roller furling systems for sails.
At the stern, the rudder has a new shaft and blade geometry offering enhanced control under both sail and power. And, of course, the Full Foil Keel® continues as one of our fundamental design features. After more than two decades of developing and evolving this keel concept, I continue to marvel at its great combination of stability, seakeeping, strength, moderate draft and passage making performance. In my opinion, no other single keel configuration even comes close to providing just some of these benefits.
The rig of the new 370 has a taller, higher aspect configuration compared to earlier Island Packets, taking advantage of the added sail carrying power of the hull and enhancing performance on all points. We’re letting 370 buyers choose between a standard sloop configuration or, at their option, a double headsail Hoyt Boom® equipped cutter sail plan. Anyone choosing the sloop can eventually upgrade to the cutter without too much “boatbuilding”…we’re putting deck bearings and integral structural features on all 370’s to facilitate the staysail upgrade at a future time. Even though we’ve decided to offer the 370 without a staysail, our commitment to the cutter rig has not changed at all. In fact, I think most 370 buyers will probably opt for the cutter rig, but we’d like to see how many buyers might choose otherwise.
The 370 deck and cockpit incorporate our trademark features of integral bow platform with twin, patented Sea Safe™ anchor rollers, recessed foredeck, full length cabin top handrails, stern rail seats, etc.. New features include side deck drains scuppered to a boot stripe outlet (keeping topsides streak-free), a foredeck hatch for improved access to the chain locker, wide cockpit coamings with two integrally molded stowage bins for active and spare LPG bottles, each with a gasketed lid, two covered loose gear bins, four open line stowage bins, another loose gear bin under a seat hatch, and two spacious sail lockers. The cockpit seats have an improved backrest shape for more comfort, and the sea hood now has an integral pod (pre-wired to the nav station) for dealer/owner installed instruments. Steps molded integrally with the transom provide comfortable access between the cockpit and platform, and a telescoping swim ladder tucks away under a flush hatch.
The 370 interior design reflects the preferences of our owners in many ways. The forward stateroom has our now familiar centerline island berth, configured slightly higher than in the past for more storage under and more width on top. Wide shelves, three lockers, a blanket bin under a hinged lid with a deep drawer under all add up to lots of stowage. Room is available for an optional bow thruster installation under the forward berth area, and the forepeak bulkhead is fully watertight from the accommodations with a bilge drain and shut-off valve accessible under the forward end of the berth.
The head compartment offers extra space by enclosing the mast within the area. A dedicated shower area with molded seat and sole detail features a folding acrylic door that, when stowed against the bulkhead, maximizes the useful space of this compartment. A molded sole pattern in a classic hexagonal tile pattern is also a new detail here.
The main saloon has full-length settees port and starboard with the port side convertible to a double. Settee seats are configured with a more comfortable backrest angle, and lots of stowage is available underneath and outboard of both settees. Another Island Packet trademark, the saloon table folds out of the way against a bulkhead rack, opening the saloon for entertaining or socializing. What’s new here are port and starboard molded sole details for a drop-in tubular leg and table top. While the table and leg are an optional extra, every 370 will have the saloon sole detail as standard. This “cocktail table” feature has proven to be very popular on the 485 and we expect most 370 buyers will select this option. The deep hanging locker at the forward end of the starboard settee has two closet rods, the outboard of which provides extra height for long garments. Last but not least, a chart drawer is fitted under the port settee.
The 370’s galley is an “open-U” configuration with our usual generous amount of built-in stowage and detail. The icebox features a new foaming construction process that should provide exceptional energy efficiency for refrigeration systems (dealer/owner installed). A drawer-type AC/DC refrigerator is available as a factory option, replacing the larger of two dry storage drawers under the icebox. This refrigeration drawer has become a popular feature on the 485, and we’ll be interested to see how well it’s received on the 370.
The aft stateroom is of particular interest as it has the potential for multiple use as a guest cabin, nav center and office. First, we’ve configured the large double berth to facilitate access from either side. As with the forward stateroom, a hinged lid under the berth covers a large blanket bin. The outboard locker is configured with removable shelves and a closet rod at the top so it can be used as either a bureau or hanging locker. At the forward end of this stateroom is a multi-use desk area for use as a vanity, work/office area, or full nav station. Hinged mirror doors fold away to reveal a large nav panel area for dealer/owner installed instruments. A swivel mounted seat rotates under or out from the desk area at the touch of a switch. This is the same seat system used on our 420 (with slightly different mechanicals), and has proven to be a very popular feature. The bulkhead dividing this stateroom from the saloon has a removable hinged panel, opening and “joining” this aft area with the saloon when desired.
A new optional interior selection is available on the 370, and we are calling it our “Plus Package”. This upgrades virtually every surface in the interior, beginning with the addition of a furniture quality satin varnish finish to all bulkheads and cabinetry (in lieu of oil). A new bevel-plank hardwood sole of tongue and groove teak alternating with narrower white oak strips is also part of the package, replacing the standard teak and holly veneered sole. Even though it’s called “white” oak, its color is somewhat similar to that of the teak; we think it’s a very tasteful, understated effect that looks quite nice. Corian® surfaces with integral sea rail detail on the head vanity and galley (Cocoa and Sahara patterns respectively), Ocean Air® built-in sun shade and screen units on all interior overhead hatches, and other miscellaneous upgrades complete the package. Depending on customer acceptance with the 370, we may consider expanding variations on this “Plus Package” option to other models in the future. One added note here is that we’re also now offering optional color choices on interior fabrics to acknowledge preferences for something other than our standard “Wheat”. We’re working on three alternate choices to what has been a very popular color/fabric selection for some time now. Using basically the same style fabric, we’re adding choices of a washed/dusty medium green, medium blue and brick color, as well as Wheat. We think these fabrics will be very attractive, and look especially good when paired with the Ultraleather® saloon upgrades.
Some not so obvious new features on the 370 include the water heater location under the aft berth, readily accessible for winterizing service yet taking up very little useful stowage space. Speaking of stowage, the 370 has over 300 cubic feet of enclosed interior stowage volume, which is equal to about 150 maximum size airplane carry-on bags! While this many rigid containers won’t fit, their contents should in a variety of interior spaces. We’re going to start publishing some interesting new specifications on all our models starting with the 2004 model year, stowage volume and STIX stability index values being two of them. I’ll be very surprised if any like sized competitor can come anywhere near our specifications.
Another new feature on the 370 (introduced with the 485) is molded fiberglass holding and water tanks. We’ve developed this process inhouse, building a custom oven to cure the special vinylester resins (FDA approvable for potable water). We now call these our Thermo-Cure™ tanks. In normal Island Packet fashion, we’ve engineered these tanks to exceed every known industry requirement for their construction, and have tested them to over five times their required pressure test levels without failure! External tank gauge devices allow remote readings of both water and waste tank levels. Fuel tanks remain constructed of heavy gauge marine aluminum as our preferred choice.
More than ever, the new 370 reflects the combined talents of our engineering, design, sales and marketing staff, numerous plant personnel and, of course, the enthusiastic, constructive and enlightening feedback of our dealers and owners. It’s amazing how much we continue to learn and grow from this process in the development of each new model. The results benefit everyone, especially our owners, who will enjoy their new 370 offering the best design, construction, and equipment features that Island Packet has ever offered.
- Bob Johnson, N.A