I disagree about the 52 being a blue water boat. They are fine coastal and caribe cruisers and offer wonderful space and value but are no better put together than my 44 was for open ocean sailing. They sail quite well and have a good Perkins engine...but are really marginal for blue water. John Kretchmer agrees: http://www.irwinyachts.com/Centercoc...20Mag%2005.pdf
As far as I know...Ted Irwin never sold out to anyone. Just filed for bankruptcy. The great and the not so great qualities of the boats built under the Irwin badge are his responsibility.
From your own source..
1)Although most cruisers buy an Irwin 52 for the size, they are often pleasantly surprised by the sailing qualities. Under full canvas the 52 moves smartly in light to moderate airs and truly comes alive in the trades. Brett and Donna have averaged 165 miles a day so far while crossing the Pacific. They are currently in Tonga and although they’ve had some mechanical issues with the boat they are pleased with its performance.
They are also pleased with its heavy weather capability.
“We had to beat to safe harbor in Cuba to avoid Hurricane Ivan,” Brett wrote in e-mail, “and it was rugged. Force 9 gusting higher, the boat did well with a deeply reefed main, mizzen and staysail.”
The bugaboo with Irwin Yachts is just how well built were they? While some of the smaller models
have not held up well over the years, the bigger boats, built to heavier scantlings, have endured the ravishes of ocean and ownership
3)It boasts of good performance under power as well as sail. Hmm, come to think of it those features sound awfully familiar? When you take a look at many of today’s larger cruising boats, it seems that Ted Irwin was a visionary.
Ironically, the Irwin 52 has a better reputation today, 30 years after it was first introduced, than it did when new.
4)Interiors sell boats. It was just as true in the 1970s and 1980s as it is today. And few boats have more inviting interiors than the Irwin 52. Whether or not you want to head offshore in this interior is another question but for coastal cruising and living aboard it is hard to beat. A friendly Australian family recently purchased one of the last Irwin 52s built and moored it behind my house to prepare it for the long crossing home to Sydney.
5)If you are interested in an Irwin 52, don’t apologize. The boat has design features that can only be found in new boats costing many times more. The 52 represents a unique blend of living space and underway performance. It may not be the ideal ocean crossing machine but it sure makes living aboard a lot less painful.
The last two views are from the standpoint of wide open saloons not being designed for below deck safty offshore not from inferior construction or not being able to handel it.
I could be mistaken on Ted selling the Co.. I might be getting that mixed up with Shannon...However I know he took a Hiatus at least from it and that's generally agreed upon by most in the industry as to the negative years at the Irwin factory.
I have an email into Gene Gammon right now to set the record straight..
Bottom line ...are there better Blue water boats the the +50 Irwins? you bet there are...dosent make them not so...Haven't read of one falling apart under anyone yet..crossing the big blues...just normal failures like any other boat.. I'd like to read about them if you got them.
I will admit I have always put the threshold of the 54 as being the Blue water starting point for Irwin..as it was the replacement of the 52 and is definitely built heaver yet...But I would take a 52 just about anywhere I believe.