Design Comments by Tim Jackett
The Blue Jacket project offered me a unique opportunity to design the first of a new series of performance racer/cruisers for Island Packet Yachts, one of North America’s most respected sailboat builders. Additionally, Island Packet CEO, owner and designer Bob Johnson agreed to collaborate on the design, bringing his depth of experience designing offshore cruising yachts to the overall design effort. In total, our combined design careers have seen the launch of over 5,000 sailing yachts, earned over 30 industry awards and represent a range of experience that would be difficult to match anywhere.
The Blue Jacket sports an upwind sail area- displacement ratio (SA/D) of 20. With the working jib furled and the 150% reacher set, this increases to 21.8. Not long ago this kind of horsepower was reserved only for a well-crewed race boat, but the simple and efficient sail handling of the Blue Jacket’s refinement of the Solent rig are changing that, offering maximum performance with ease of use.
The hull form and appendages of the Blue Jacket are designed to work in harmony with the sailplan to provide performance that extends daily sailing range and the potential to generate more race trophies. The hull’s fine entry is good for upwind sailing and the “ V ” shaped forward sections provide comfortable motion in a seaway. Her aft sections are broad and flat with a good amount of overhang to provide excellent downwind speed and upwind sail carrying power. Wetted surface is also reduced, increasing light air performance. This hull shape is carefully “sculpted” for the cruising sailor to avoid the more extreme race boat “wedge” shape’s tendency to become unwieldy when heeled, necessitating large crews to keep the boat in balance. The Blue Jacket hull design balances the wide aft sections with fuller topside sections forward, allowing the boat to heel evenly maintaining excellent control, tracking and seakeeping.
State of the art keel and rudder designs combine advanced low drag, high lift laminar flow foil sections. The two keel choices have integral bulbs at their base to concentrate weight as low as possible for maximum stability and sail carrying power. Finger tip steering delivers sport boat-like response from the high aspect rudder blade set on a composite carbon fiber post. The Blue Jacket’s nimble handling and speed is also a result of a low displacement to length ratio (D/L) of 172, a direct result of advanced technology hull and deck laminates.
The design challenge presented was to create a yacht with a performance pedigree, one that could compete effectively in around-the-buoy and offshore races yet provide a level of comfort, build quality and ease of use that would gratify the entire family. I believe this objective has been successfully achieved in a particularly attractive yacht that’s evolved from a rich history of successful designs.