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post #10 of Old 11-16-2007
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Irwin 37 - Blue Water Capable

I have an Irwin 37' CC that I am currently strengthening for blue water capability. Yes, it is true the Irwin was not designed for blue water. However, the Irwin 37 has several features that make it adaptable for reasonable blue water cruising. The fiberglass hull is plenty strong - at least thick or greater. The boat is a good size, provides space - a little additional weight is ok - yet small enough that strengthening it is a reasonable endeavor based on strength of common materials. So far the areas that I have strengthened or plan on strengthening include:

(1) The rigging. This depends on what you currently have. A rigger can give you recommendations.
(2) The compression post. Both above and below the sole on my boat.
(3) The bulkheads. Many of the bulkheads butt up against the headliner. The liner is only about 1/8" thick and there is a gap between the liner and deck. Adding support to the bulk head, either to fill the gap and/or adding additional materials alongside the existing bulkhead to extend to the deck.
(4) The flooring and/or sole. The floor pan in the Irwin 37 is an important part of the structure. I'm adding reinforcement below the sole, and to the sole itself, to ensure the pan does not rack extensively. I think the original fuel tanks contributed to structure. So if you modified the tanks, consider their role in strengthening the boat. I would not recommend adding fiberglass to the connection points of the pan to the hull. The originally designed fiberglass hull has proven to be plenty strong over years of use.
(5) The main salon is large for heavy weather sailing. Add extra hand holds and perhaps reinforcement to wall (roof).
(6) Another weak spot, although not related to blue water capability, is the stern tube aft of the dead wood. I'd recommend adding fiberglass around the aft end of the stern tube from the outside.

If any of you have additional engineering suggestions on where to strengthen and Irwin 37, I would appreciate the suggestions.

If you want to criticize the idea of strengthening the Irwin 37, please give me specifics based on experience or measurements. I know the boat was not originally designed for blue water and may not be comfortable in heavy weather. All boats are a compromise.
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