Irwin 39 keel cracking - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 3 Old 05-09-2004 Thread Starter
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Irwin 39 keel cracking

Am looking at an Irwin 39 that has cracking around the keel and hull joint that the current owners have started to grind out. They have owned the boat since new, it''s an ''80/''81 vintage and said they''ve never noticed any cracking until last winters haul-out for storage. This is a keel/centerboard set-up and I''m not familiar with this keel hull attachment. It seems that the ballast centerboard housing is bolted directly to the bottom of the hull with a flange extending about 4" out from the vertical sides of the keel. The bolts appear to be spaced about 4"-5" apart down the length of the keel. While feeling under the cabin sole, it seems that there might be a double row of bolts in the flange on both sides. Is this correct? It would certainly explain why they appear to me to be undersized (3/8"?). What it looks like to me is that the whole keel unit/flange assembly is bolted to the bottom of the hull in what should be a heavily laminated, possibly recessed area, and then faired in to the bottom of the hull with resin and fairing compounds. Does any Irwin owner out there have any experience with this set-up? Is my estimation of the situation far off the mark? The owners have asked me to repair this but I''m reluctant to start anything until I have an understanding of what''s involved. Any info or help in finding info would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 3 Old 05-14-2004
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Irwin 39 keel cracking

I have a ''73, 32''. Mine is keel model, but the construction you describe, if I understand you, sounds very similar to mine. My keel is encapsulated, but was made seperately from the hull. The section was bolted on the joint faired with a lot of filler. I do not know how many keel bolts or the size.

I have had no serious problems in my 10 years of ownership with this set up. It did, at first, tend to need repairs from season to season. These repairs consisted of reoving loose filler - sometimes some small stone size chunks - and filling with West.On one occassion a large enough chuck of filler came out that I used some fiberglass tape to cover. Over the years, the repairs to the area have become less and less to the point where they are very minor at this point. At any rate, the repairs were never cosltly or terribly difficult.

I would reccommend a survey before you purchase. If those cracks and openings were not well attended to each year - I would be concerned about the keel bolts - especially if it is a salt water boat.
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post #3 of 3 Old 05-16-2004 Thread Starter
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Irwin 39 keel cracking

Thanks Irwin 32 for your input. I''m not buying the boat. The owners have contracted me to repair the problem, and as I have said the way that the keel/centerboard housing is attached to the hull appears strange to me. I was hoping that an owner of a 39 Citation would respond if they had any info or first hand experience with this set-up. Thus far I haven''t been able to find any info on Irwins construction methods any where on the net. I''ve worked for a custom sailboat builder for a number of years as well as my own repair business for the past few years. Typically, the keels were bolted to a keel sump or stub with imbedded keel bolts on the centerline of the keel. I suppose I should try e-mailing the Irwin list. Anyway, thanks again for your input.
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