Island Packet Estero

Island Packet Estero Review

LOA 36’5”

LWL 31’5”

BEAM 12’4”

DRAFT 4’0”



SA 708 SQ. FT.



As the truly sick person that I am, I seem to be always thinking about two boats into the future. Please tell me I’m not the only one! Anywho, recently we attended the Minneapolis Boat Show and fell in love with Island Packet Yachts latest model, the Estero. Crap! This is creating problems already and we won’t even be ready for one of those for another 10 – 12 years. They are beautiful though. One of our local dealers, Sailor’s World, had it on display and the second time through, which was much later in the evening, we were able to speak to the proprietor, Gary DeSantis, for quite some time. He had overheard me making a remark to my wife about me not being a naval architect and remarked, “speaking of naval architects.” Anyway, he went on to explain about the Island Packet’s patented Full Foil Keel®, how it works, it’s benefits and so on. He explained about how Bob Johnson went to MIT and later became a naval architect and started his own company in 1979.


One of the features we really liked was the open, wrap around saloon. We are assuming that 99% of our cruising is going to be just the two of us, so this seems like a really nice arrangement for lazying about. For those times we do have guests, the area converts to a sleeping area perfect for grandkids. I first became familiar with this arrangement from the Gozzard line. To us, it gave the sailboat a much larger feeling than similar sized craft at the show.


The quality of the workmanship also duly impressed us. It was very noticeable compared to the other sailboats at the show. To be fair, the Island Packet Estero is about $50k more in price to similarly sized craft we looked at, so you would expect there to be a significant amount of quality difference, and there was. One of the things which grabbed my attention was the lids to the refrigerator and freezer. They each have their own independent lid and they are both heavy duty. In comparison, what I noticed was that the pneumatic lifters were so heavy duty that it was almost hard to close them, whereas on one of the other sailboats, the lifters were non-existent, the result being, that it was hard to open. To be honest I was afraid I was going to drop the lid trying to lift it and get it to the lock position. Every thing else I looked at seemed to be built in the same heavy duty manner. I have always been an over-engineering kind of person and really appreciate seeing that in a sailboat I may be trusting my life to one day.

Another thing I saw that was truly impressive was the ground tackle locker area. It is huge. At least coming from my experience with a trailer sailor. But it is impressive, it is divided in two sections with each side being capable of holding 150′ of chain, with plenty of room left over for boat bumpers and such. Also, the locker is in front of a water-tight bulkhead, which I think would be helpful if somehow the front was damaged below the waterline.

I must also add that I do like the ivory colored gel-coat too. I am a little light sensitive and appreciate any reduction of glare I can get. To me it is a pleasing color. My wife was not crazy about it at first, but it soon began to grow on her the more she looked at it. The Estero has just about the right amount of teak on deck to suit me as well. Just enough to be pretty, but not so much that we will spend too much time with a can of varnish. I wish I liked doing maintenance chores more, because I really like the look of well-maintained teak, but I know myself better than that. A quick look around the house can find several unfinished projects to remind me of that if I forget.

The last good/bad thing I will mention is that Island Packets are well known for their value retention. Good in that if we were to ever sell her, we would get almost all of our money back. Bad in that they are a lot of money for us mere mortals to get a hold of. Of course, our plan is to sell the house and everything we own to finance our cruising retirement, so I suppose one could make the argument that the money we spend on the Island Packet Estero is just money in the bank so to speak. Sounds good to me, anyways. My wife commented at the boat show that this one ruined her for considering other sailboats and I think I agree.