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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Irwin
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  #11  
Old 11-16-2007
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
As a former Irwin44 owner and one who has several friends with 38's, I would say you are wasting your time and money trying to make a 38 "bluewater".
While the glass itself is strong...the underlying structure of the boat...the hull to deck joint, the hull rigidity and the bulkhead integrity are not sufficient for extended bluewater cruising. If you are making improvements for the boat for coastal or Caribe short passage cruising, then fine. I loved my Irwin and it served us well...but it was not built to cross oceans and nothing you can reasonably do will make it so. You could get lucky...but do you want to NEED luck?

Have you actually been in a gale in the ocean in your boat for a day or more or are you doing your work on the speculation that you can make it blue water capable?
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Old 12-01-2007
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A Citation perhaps?

You might want to consider a 35 or 38 Citation (aft cockpit) the rigs and other aspects of the boat are built a bit more rugged than some of the center cockpits. Be careful with Irwins built in the early to mid 80s, there were issues, Ted took hiatus and lawsuits were brought as to structural integrity and manufacturing issues. Dust settled in late 80s and some were even overbuilt as reaction to lawsuits and return of Ted Irwin to the factory.

Valkyrie, 1988 Citation 35.5

Last edited by bob chaisson; 12-01-2007 at 02:05 PM. Reason: add boat
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Old 03-02-2008
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Irwin 38

I owned an Irwin 38 that I sailed all around Florida and the Bahamas. It is more of a classic looking vessel than the charter tubby Irwins that I suspect that most of you are talking about.

Let's face it, many corners were cut in building this boat. However, she was strong and offshore capable. I had to do things like rewire the shore power, etc. And, if I were going offshore, I might redo the chainplates. And she leaked pretty good. But I never worried about her in bad weather.
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Old 03-02-2008
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I'm guessing your's was an aft cockpit, Citation perhaps. I have had to rebed the keel, rebed the chainplates at the deck, tighten EVERYTHING, and I still need to replace the hatch lenses, ports and some of the running tackle. But when it comes to being sturdy, I've had this boat out in 25 Kt winds gusting to 30-35 with a 135 genny and full battened main and she didn't even blink. Although some of the people on board gasped and blinked. Once I'm done with her, I'd take her anywhere and probably will. I looked at some center cockpits that looked kinda flimsy and saw others that looked much better. Don't think for a min.that I favor the aft cockpits either. I saw one 86 Citation 35 with the forward bulkhead sprung. How the heck do you do that? I'd call that a manufacturing defect if I ever saw one. It's like everything else you buy used "illegitimii non carborundum", no wait that's not it, oh yea, "caveat emptor", well both actually.

Bob s/v Valkyrie, 1988 Citation 35.5

BTW If anyone runs across another 1988 35.5 let me know. Thanks
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Old 03-05-2008
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Mine was a 1971 aft cockpit 38, but not the citation. Lots of cheap stuff on it like the head enclosure bulkheads and the fiberboard cabnetry. Universal Atomic 4 that eventually seized up. No pressure water, no ice box. Leaked every where. Strong hull deck joint though.

I would sail her anywhere.
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Old 03-05-2008
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They came a long way between 1971 and 1988. Bulkheads and cabinets are all teak hardwood (teak marine plywood), Yanmar 3GM30 engine, Shure pump water pressure, good size icebox w/4" insulation. Fixed almost all the leaks (most at thru deck hardward - typical for a 20 yr old boat) and the hull deck joint has a full overlap with wood reinforcement rails and thru bolted. I have located most of the equipment used on the boat in the aftermarket and it is pretty much mainstream equipment with a smattering of some better quality stuff. When I made my Vang, I brought it to the local rigger for splicing the fiddle. When I told her what boat it was for, she said the Irwin Rig was very robust and I should consider stepping it up one size to match. I wouldn't think twice of sailing her anywhere after I tweak her a bit.
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Old 03-05-2008
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Sinply ridiculous to consider these bluewater boats. There has NEVER been an overbuilt Irwin as these are modestly priced coastal cruisers or club racers. Offshore in a storm those nice teak laminate on plywood (and it ain't marine plywood) bulkheads will let go as the hull starts flexing and you'll wonder how the water got through that hull deck joint. Irwin made NICE boats for the money and we enjoyed our 44 immensely cruising full time for 3 years on her...but I would never confuse it or anything below it in the line with a blue water boat. The idea that Irwin quality varied by year is also unsupported by the facts. Some boats were made decently...others had shortcuts...nothing was ever overbuilt.
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Old 03-05-2008
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chucklesR is a jewel in the rough chucklesR is a jewel in the rough chucklesR is a jewel in the rough
Some one said 1/4 inch of FRP (to 80's standards of glass/mat/resin) and blue water all in the same sentence.
Even without knowing the history of the boat, flex history of the hull etcc. That's Living life on the edge.

My little tiny EU Open Ocean Category A rated Gemini is built better than that, and while other's have I would not take it open ocean.

Island Packets (good rep Blue water boats) have 1.5 inches at the keel of glass alone: http://www.sailmag.com/features/IslandPacketFactory.pdf

Catalina 30's, a good coastal boat - have 1/4 - 1/2 (varies depending on how hungover the factory worker was that day) of FRP down low.

My seriously coastal only Hunter 31 had 1/4 of FRP - when the liner was pulled to replace it we could see sunlight glowing thru it, hence the move to a Gemini even for me.

Equally important is how the hull is braced with framing, bulkhead and stringers, and how the deck is bonded. Th simple fact of the matter is the Irwin is a splendidly designed low cost charter boat designed for coastal and near coastal use. Not for crossing oceans. Can it be done? Certainly, with luck and big assed pumps on board and a crew to man them and caulk seams and do damage control.

I could sail my 10.5 ft 1/4in plywood, glass coated dinghy to England tomorrow to. Maybe I'll start a blog and get some donations rolling in.
Not for me, for my soon to be widow.
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Old 03-06-2008
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I don't know who said 1/4 inch FRP but it is quite a bit thicker than that. I should know, I've drilled holes in it and tried real hard to poke one in her too, only managed to get about 1/2 way through the glass and was well past a 1/4 inch. Just my curiosity, how thick does uncoated FRP have to get before light no longer passes through it?
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Old 03-06-2008
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My 1971 Irwin 38 was solid on the outside and cheap on the inside. It had great classic lines (hard to believe, right?) with a nice overhang stern. And the glass was thick. Over an inch.

I have to dig out a picture becuase she is not the charter type Irwin everyone is talking about.

As soon as I get to 10 posts, I will post a pic!

Last edited by jzk; 03-06-2008 at 10:35 PM.
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