Irwin 54 - Liveaboard/Cruiser - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 22 Old 07-10-2006 Thread Starter
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Irwin 54 - Liveaboard/Cruiser

I have lived aboard an Irwin 54 in NE for four years and a Morgan for seven years before that. I have cruised 50,000 + miles on all types of boats. If you have any questions about the suitability of the big Irwins for these purposes, ask away.
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post #2 of 22 Old 07-16-2006
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irwin 54

How would you compare the Irwin to the Nautical Development 56? They appear to be very similiar. I have not been able to find out much about the Nautical. thanks.
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post #3 of 22 Old 07-16-2006 Thread Starter
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Sorry, I just do not know the Nautical so can not compare/contrats.
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post #4 of 22 Old 07-27-2006
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Irwin54, Do you know much about earlier Irwins? I bought a 1970 38' about 8 months ago, it seems pretty solid,I'd heard horror stories about Irwins with leaky ports,and soft decks, mainly early 80's 34's. Big irwins 43's & larger seem to stay around and hold value so I assume they were put together pretty good. This boat of mine seems to be the only one out there I know of,checked yachtworld several times worldwide and never find another.If you or any other reader knows anything about this boat pls let me know. It's a narrow beam 10'6'', looka a lot like a Hughes or Hinkley 38, but with a centerboard and V drive engine instead of the S&S engine box in the middle of the salon. Thanks, Art.
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post #5 of 22 Old 07-28-2006
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The guy you runs the yachtsmart.net brokerage has an Irwin38. I have an Irwin 44 for sale and we went from Maine to the Bahamas on her and she was a great coastal cruising boat.
The problem with 70-80's Irwins was inconsistent build quality due to high turnover at the yard...hence all the stories you've heard. As a practical matter...most of this stuff was peripheral and has been dealt with by subsequent owners. I invested a bunch in my boat to make her cruise ready and never had any qualms about her for her intended use. You may find more info on the irwin e-mail list here on sailnet OR you can go to
http://www.angelfire.com/fl/irwinsailboats/
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post #6 of 22 Old 08-24-2008
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Hello Irwin54,
I am thinking of buying a 1990 54. Are there any areas that I should take notice of. I know all boats have there, well lets say undesirable areas.Age also has its factor.If you could point me in the right direction of the 54s faults and age factor problems it would be a great help.Also how about sailing 54 pros/cons.
Thanks RJS
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post #7 of 22 Old 08-24-2008
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RJ

This thread is over 2 years old...I havent been here all that long but am here almost every day...I have never seen a post from Irwin54

FWIW there is one in my marina if it ever comes up for sail Im going to buy it....I have the 41 CC Ketch model...I do have a couple issues at port locations and a couple hatches that drip a tiny bit...the only wet deck area the surveyor found was at the mizzen step...all corrected and rebuilt now...I am a huge Irwin fan..They got a bad rep due to the fact that Ted Irwin sold out to cheapskate builders and had to buy the company back again. Once your tarnished in this industry your tarnished..Just as Hunter and Mcgregor are...Irwin worse so only because their not around any more.

The 52' and above are definitely Blue-water boats..never sailed on one so cant help with details...All others were designed for fast ( for their day )coastal cruising and comfort on the hook only.

Last edited by Stillraining; 08-24-2008 at 01:08 PM.
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post #8 of 22 Old 08-24-2008
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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.

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post #9 of 22 Old 08-24-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
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.”

2)Construction
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
pretty well.

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.
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Last edited by Stillraining; 08-24-2008 at 07:10 PM.
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post #10 of 22 Old 08-24-2008
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We'll have to agree to disagree on this one Still...I was referring to his rating of 2.5 stars out of 5 for construction and the same for re-fit-ability.

When you read a REVIEW that says. It may not be the ideal ocean crossing machine but it sure makes living aboard a lot less painful.
You know what the author really means...it is NOT a good choice for offshore cruising. No reviewer ever comes right out and says stuff!

I'd agree with you that the 54 and the over 60' stuff is better.
Anyway...I'm not buying one so if you want to dream of one go right ahead.
Gene G. used to post all the time on the Irwin Mail list when I was an owner and is definitely the most knowledgeable guy on the planet about the boats history. I will be happy to accept his version of Irwin history whatever it is.

Pls. understand...I am not an Irwin basher. We loved ours, it sailed great, motored great and took us all up an down the East Coast and Bahamas in a pretty safe and trouble free manner. I am just stating my opinion abut blue-water and the 52.

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