The Island Packets are known for their cruising comfort with a broad beam, full keel and handsome traditional styling. The 31 is very spacious below and has the feel of a much larger vessel. She has a safe and secure deck with raised bulwarks, unobstructed decks along with a deep and comfortable cockpit. There is just the right amount of teak with the caprail, combings, eye brow and handrails to add to her traditional good looks. Her cutter rig allows for several sail plans and can accommodate any kind of weather conditions. All this coupled with her tri-cabin interior make her a wonderful cruiser for the family or 2 couples.
The 31 Island Packet has a very innovative interior design allowing for a wonderful amount of living space and also enabling a tri cabin configuration giving one the ability to have 2 private sleeping cabins. The forward cabin has a V-berth with filler, hanging locker, cabinets, shelves, port lights and overhead hatch as well as it's own private access to the head. The head is to starboard with vanity, toilet with seat, cabinets and hot and cold shower with drain pan with the toilet. Opposite the head is a large cedar lined hanging locker. The main salon has a settee to port and L-settee to starboard which makes into an additional double berth. She has a bulkhead mounted table that drops down for dining and opening up the shelving unit behind. There is additional shelving behind both settees and lockers behind and under the settees. Aft to starboard is the navigation station and quarter berth. There is a folding pocket door and the nav table flips up to create a second private stateroom. Ventilation is excellent as there is an overhead hatch as well as 2 opening ports. When not closed off it creates an open spacious interior. To port of the companionway is the large U-shaped sea galley that any cook would be pleased with.
The interior is warm , bright and inviting with all the teak cabinetry, teak and holly sole, and lovely fabrics. She has excellent natural light provided from 3 overhead hatches and nine opening ports. Her centerline companionway leads to her spacious cockpit.
Construction of the hull of the 31 is a solid laminate of fiberglass cloth and polyester resin. There is considerable use of molded fiberglass liners, which obstructs access to many areas of the boat and complicates repairs. However, with proper engineering and adequate quality control during construction, this is a strong and cost effective method of production. Island Packet does a good job of both, and I have yet to find any significant structural failure of an Island Packet hull that resulted from poor design or workmanship. A unique feature of all Island Packet boats is the method of deck construction. Instead of using balsa or foam core material, Island Packets use their own "Polycore," which is a mixture of resin fillers. I have no information on how this compares in weight and strength to well-documented and more traditional core materials, but, again, I have yet to run across any serious delaminations or failures. Ballast is encapsulated iron, and centerboards have a small amount of lead weight, which seems more intended to keep the board down than to have any significant effect on stability.
Make no mistake about it, the Island Packet 31 is a cruising sailboat, although under certain conditions her performance can be quite respectable. The 31 was offered as a sloop or with a double headsail arrangement, commonly called a cutter. This is more accurately a double-headsail sloop, but that is nit-picking.
It would be impossible to design a boat with shallow draft, a full keel, considerable volume forward and have it sail efficiently to weather by modern standards. In this regard the IP 31 is no surprise. However, the sail area/displacement ratio of 17.2 provides adequate power, and the considerable beam provides initial stability to carry sail which translates to quite good reaching performance when the wind picks up to 12+ knots. Downwind performance is hampered by considerable wetted surface. Although performance is acceptable if the wind is above 10 knots true, and, when it really blows, the boat tracks and handles nicely.