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Nick J. 09-25-2013 07:19 PM

43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
I'm a first time boat buyer trying to compare two Irwin's for Live-Aboard and Cruising: 43' Irwin MKIII (1989) vs. Irwin 46' Ketch (1982)

Here are my questions:

1. Is there any significant difference in the quality of constriction between the 46 and the 43. I came across one forum where someone mentioned that the 46 is more of a "blue water" boat than the 43. (understanding that it is not a Blue Water boat, but perhaps a more solid boat)

2. Is there a significant different in the ability to single hand the 43 vs the 46? Or, if I were to get caught in rough weather, would one be easier to manage than the other?

3. Understanding there is only a 3 foot difference, while looking at slip rental fees, I noticed there is a $150 difference in prices between the two. In this case, boats over 44' see a large jump in price. Is this typical of what I will see as it applies to mooring/maintenance/repair, or would the overall difference be less dramatic?

4. Lets assume the overall quality and hand-ability of the 43 and 46 are similar... is the additional cost of ownership of the 46 worth the additional space and possible speed? (Understanding this is mostly personal preference)

5. Would one of these hold re-sale value better than the other?

Thanks in advance for any input!

TomandKarens34 09-26-2013 12:57 AM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
Hi Nick. I'm not sure where to start without knowing a little bit about your expectations as well as your sailing skill level. Your questions are framed in a fashion that suggests you are new to this sailing thing. The boats you are looking are older cruising stock. Boats like these, unless unusually lightly used, need a ton of maintenance. Most of the systems, ( like the engine ) are nearing the end of their service life. If you are concerned about "parking" costs, this is only a minor factor in ownership of boats like these. Everything on a big boat and these are big boats, is enormously expensive. For example, a piece of standing rigging on my old 25 O'Day was $89. A new forestay on my Irwin 34 was $495. For these boats, it would be even more. Even if you get a survey on these boats you are looking at, there will be plenty of things that are missed. You could easily spend $15,000 to $50,000 after the sale price. Where do you want to sail ? Irwins are generally not considered blue water boats. That said, many have traveled far. Sailing is about developing a skill set. It is just as much about your judgment and preparation as it is about the capability of the boat. As another example, there are extraordinary street motorcycles for sale in dealerships across the country. An ordinary person can buy a motorcycle that has power and performance beyond what a formula 1 race bike had 35 years ago. Not one rider in 50 has the skills to exploit even one half of the potential of these machines. Of them, not one in 100 has access to a road where this might be done in safety. In this, one impediment is the skill set, the other is good judgment. Do you see how both are necessary to successful use of the bike's potential ? If you can't see what I mean, please view the " Creditcard Captains" on you tube. This is, indirectly, the answer to the single-handing question. Lastly, resale value. The boats you are looking at have lost their original value. They are close to worthless except for the careful maintenance that has been done to them. Some are Gems, who have been cared for without hesitation. The day that this devotion to their care lapses, is the start of their decline. Only you can define their residual value. It can be quite a bit but it will only be a fraction of what it has cost to maintain them. To translate that into English, they won't hold their resale value at all. In addition, the money you put in them will be a poor return, 50% or less, unless it's like a new motor. In that case it will help sell the boat and you might get 60% of the cost back. Hope this frames things up a bit for you.

TomandKarens34 09-27-2013 05:21 PM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
Another guy who posts one post, never to return. I got to stop taking the bait.

jameswilson29 09-27-2013 06:11 PM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch

Originally Posted by TomandKarens34 (Post 1094921)
Another guy who posts one post, never to return. I got to stop taking the bait.

Maybe you saved his life.:)

Many of the posters come here seeking reaffirmation. When you reframe their question in the larger context, in an attempt to provide the wisdom they lack, they bail. They must realize that they will not get the reaffirmation they are seeking and will go elsewhere.

TomandKarens34 09-27-2013 10:30 PM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
Probably so, Jim. When I see rust stains on the rudder, I know just what that means. It isn't a cleaning issue ! Well, maybe I did some good, if not for this fellow, perhaps the next guy.

WiZaxx 11-02-2014 01:50 AM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch

Originally Posted by TomandKarens34 (Post 1094921)
Another guy who posts one post, never to return. I got to stop taking the bait.

But your answer is very welcomed by readers.
So don't feel too bad about it.

I for example read your reply and made up my mind based upon it, so Thank you... and thanks to the guy-whe-never-returned for the question.


tdoster 12-08-2014 11:17 AM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
Most of the Irwin boats in this range were designed and built for the island charter fleet with lots of motoring and hot comfortable showers and bunks in mind at anchor. The 43 MK I and 46 are comparable boats. The 43 MK II+ is vastly different and far more catered to the comfort below and day sailing ability than the 46, with less storage and more comfortable aft stateroom. The 46 had larger tankage and could motor at least 800 miles on a tank at hull speed. Pay careful attention to the mast step, chainplates (xray is the only way to know) and signs of bulkhead movement and hull shape. Even though there is a defined layup schedule, I would venture to say it may not have been adhered to from boat to boat.

Even though most of the Florida West coast boats got a bad rap, they made it possible for the average person to cruise and liveaboard today. Ted Irwin designs are still pleasing to the eye and sail well for their designed purpose long past their design range. Cruisers today are far more conservative and informed than we were back in the 70's with technology. 80% of the time, the boat is in port, or at anchor. Staying longer in a nice comfortable boat waiting for a weather window and now having the ability to track even the smallest of squalls on board is much nicer than putting to sea in even the most capable of boats.

Both boats are ICW friendly with maximum mast height of 58. The deep draft 46 requires far more attention to depths and tides.

Resale is predicated on two things. Primarily what a bank will loan. As it is harder to get a loan on a boat, values have dropped considerably. Most banks loan to 20 year old boats and few loan up to 30 year old boats. Past that point, it is cash or creative financing only, which depletes the potential buyer pool considerably. So, an 83 in Bristol condition has less value than an 85 in average condition most of the time.

Buying a boat for cruising the islands is more about the overall costs as the original reply indicated and the rule of thumb should always be to buy the smallest boat you are comfortable on.

Neither is a blue water built boat. Both are comfortable motorsailers well at home in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

faa50 01-08-2016 10:43 AM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
Thanks for the information and perspective on the Irwin 43 & 46 boats. My wife and I are considering very brands and models with the intent of sailing as live aboards iin the Caribbean. We find the information beneficial in our decision making.

Winterstale 04-05-2016 06:10 PM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
I'd like to say thank you as well! My husband and I are very close to purchasing an Irwin 43 MKIII -- right now it's down to that and a Gulfstar 45 Hirsch - - I know that both boat were designed for essentially the same type of sailing -- we plan to spend some time in Florida, the Bahamas, and hopefully a few months in the BVI -- I think this boat will work perfectly for what we want.....leaning towards the Irwin.....

captflood 04-07-2016 12:40 PM

Re: 43' Irwin MKIII vs. Irwin 46' Ketch
GREETINGS EARTHLINGS : Thank you for the info I have been to look at a Irwin 41 Ketch with a view to buy (but backed out ) there is a lot of work needed on the boat .AS ALWAYS GO SAFE

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