Our Boat

When picking a boat for the trip we wanted to focus on a comfortable coastal cruiser but one that had the capacity to do deeper blue water sailing if the opportunity arose.  After a bunch of research and countless trips to marinas to look at boats, we chose an Island Packet 31 from 1986 that was in Port Washington, Wisconsin.  Before we get into why we chose this particular model, here are her (Eastbound n Down’s) dimensions:

LOA…………………………. 34’4”                          Holding Tank …………………14 Gal

LWL…………………………. 27’9”                          Displacement ………………..11,000

Beam……………………….. 11’6”                           Ballast ……………………..… 4,500

Draft…………………………. 3.5’-7’                         Sail Area ……..…………….. 648 SQ Ft

Mast above DWL……….. 43’6”                                  Engine ……………….. Yanmar 27 HP

Water Capacity………….. 70 Gal                              Head Room ……………… 6’ 3”

Fuel Capacity…………..…. 25 Gal                             Cabins/Berths …………… 3/7

One of the interesting characteristics of our boat is that she has a centerboard, allowing us to vary the draft from 3.5 feet to 7 feet.  This results in a boat that is perfect in shallow coastal waters like the Bahamas but also has the ability to traverse the Great Lakes and even the Atlantic Ocean.  While the centerboard does clunk from time to time in rolling seas, its advantages have already been felt numerous times in both extremes.  With many harbors in the Great Lakes experiencing historically low water levels, many ports and anchorages are accessible that otherwise would not be an option with a deeper fixed keel.  On the other end of the spectrum, during heavier winds, especially those over 20kn, dropping the centerboard down has given us substantial additional stability and a much better ability to point.

When choosing a sailboat for a long trip or a live aboard one must first decide the role of performance for their voyage.  As deadlines for our trip were not rigid, and the length of the trip extended, we largely opted to ignore the performance capabilities and focused on more comfortable and sturdy boats.  On our first small venture from Port Washington to Saugatuck, Michigan, we first learned the extent to which the boat can point into the wind. As it turns out, the result was “not well”. This is a quality that we have been able to improve with practice, but appears to remain an unavoidable fact for the rest of our journey.

So far Eastbound n Down has held up quite well, but as one should expect from a 26 year old boat it’s had its fair share of breakdowns and things that have needed repairs.  Beyond the occasional gel coat chip, fraying halyard line, and UV ray’s constant wear and tear on the wood, we managed to break the boat’s throttle and  engine control, and snap one of the wires.  We have managed to limp along with the use of some pliers and good luck but we are hoping to replace the broken unit as soon as possible.

We have come to the end of our trip and must unfortunately sell the little boat that has taken us so far. We have spent the last few weeks putting her in order after our trip, and it is somewhat bittersweet to report that Eastbound N Down is finally up for sail in Fort Pierce, Florida. Now, I certainly don’t presume that anyone who has been following the blog would be interested in  our boat, but if you have happened to stumble across the website while looking for a boat in Florida, you may want to take a look at her. The posting for the boat can be found here.

3 thoughts on “Our Boat

  1. I found your post while researching the IP 31 centerboard models. I went to the link for the boat and was directed to a boat in Oriental NC that I had seen previously. Is it the same boat? I live in Fort Pierce so I was disappointed that the boat was not still here. I didn’t realize how old the blog is.

    • Hey Kevin, sorry for the delayed reply (we’ve had a ton spam messages and I think your got a little lost). It has been a while but we are more than happy to help if you have any questions.

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