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post #11 of 28 Old 12-12-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

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Originally Posted by 1973TR6 View Post
Hi all,

Have just taken the plunge on a 1982 Mirage 33. I'm looking for advice on the boat in terms of the good and not so good points of the boat. What to watch for, what might need attention (other than the stem plate). Where any leaks might come from, any mods to make the boat more liveable etc.

I have a dozen years sailing experience and have owned 2 sailboats previously so am looking for specifics on the Mirage 33.

Any and all advice welcome.
The Mirage 33 was designed as a performance cruiser, emphasis on performance.

They do sail quite well.

The balsa cored hull was extremely important when the boats were new so they would be competitive in yacht club racing against C&Cs and other performance cruisers of the day.

Displacement/Length ratio is quite low, as desired for a fast (esp. light air) boat.

However, this can make them quite "twitchy in gusty conditions.

The hull is quite flat, again contributing to speed in light airs.

But they have some drawbacks for a cruising boat.

The lay-up is a bit skimpy, and many have numerous dry spots and factory gelcoat voids.

The spars are very light and prone to breaking under significant load.

The flat hull leads to belly-flopping in heavy seas.

The hull/keel join is weak and prone to damage in a grounding.

Unless performance is a primary factor, I would steer someone away from a Mirage 33 as a cruising boat.

Few will survey well now that they are 30 some years old, with high moisture readings in the hull.

Hull moisture ingress can lead to delamination and rot, creating a whole world of hurt.

Notwithstanding, if you have a good one, they can be a blast.

If performance is of greater importance than durability, good choice.
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post #12 of 28 Old 12-12-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

Your description of the boat is very different than the one I own or others I looked at. Of the three I inspected none of them had gel coat issues, any signs of hull damage at the keel joint which I am sure all being great lake boats they hit bottom at least once in the last 30+ years or high moisture readings in the hull. Its not a very popular so I would be curious how many you personally worked on that had almost lost a keel or needed a new mast or boom. To say its not as durable as a Hunter, Oday or a Catalina of equal size or vintage after inspecting a couple of those as well makes wonder about your experience with the 33/35.
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post #13 of 28 Old 12-13-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

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Your description of the boat is very different than the one I own or others I looked at. Of the three I inspected none of them had gel coat issues, any signs of hull damage at the keel joint which I am sure all being great lake boats they hit bottom at least once in the last 30+ years or high moisture readings in the hull. Its not a very popular so I would be curious how many you personally worked on that had almost lost a keel or needed a new mast or boom. To say its not as durable as a Hunter, Oday or a Catalina of equal size or vintage after inspecting a couple of those as well makes wonder about your experience with the 33/35.
I am a professional marine service provider.

Work Performed On Various Mirage 33s:

1. 30A AC Shore Power System Installation (2)
2. DC Panel Replacement (1)
3. Ice Box / Refrigeration Conversion (1)
4. Multiple Gelcoat Void Repairs (2)
5. Electronics Installations (2)
6. Rudder Repairs (1)
7. Hull / Keel Join Repairs (2)
8. Keel Bolt Retorquing (1)
9. Boom Repairs (2)
10. Plumbing Upgrades (1)

One thing I forgot to mention previously; these boats were often equipped with a Yanmar 2GM20, outputting 16 HP at 3400 RPM.

This was a nice light engine to get one out of the marina for PHRF racing, but not very powerful for a cruising boat.

They are raw water cooled, and are not equipped with a heat exchanger for domestic hot water.

They struggle with anything more than a 35 A alternator.

A 3GM30F would have been a better solution for cruising in my opinion.

My honest opinion is that they are a lightly built boat with good sailing performance. On the cruising and durability scale they don't score as high as others. Every boat is a compromise.
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post #14 of 28 Old 12-13-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

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Originally Posted by boatsurgeon View Post
I am a professional marine service provider.

Work Performed On Various Mirage 33s:

1. 30A AC Shore Power System Installation (2)
2. DC Panel Replacement (1)
3. Ice Box / Refrigeration Conversion (1)
4. Multiple Gelcoat Void Repairs (2)
5. Electronics Installations (2)
6. Rudder Repairs (1)
7. Hull / Keel Join Repairs (2)
8. Keel Bolt Retorquing (1)
9. Boom Repairs (2)
10. Plumbing Upgrades (1)

One thing I forgot to mention previously; these boats were often equipped with a Yanmar 2GM20, outputting 16 HP at 3400 RPM.

This was a nice light engine to get one out of the marina for PHRF racing, but not very powerful for a cruising boat.

They are raw water cooled, and are not equipped with a heat exchanger for domestic hot water.

They struggle with anything more than a 35 A alternator.

A 3GM30F would have been a better solution for cruising in my opinion.

My honest opinion is that they are a lightly built boat with good sailing performance. On the cruising and durability scale they don't score as high as others. Every boat is a compromise.

And from that list of repairs you can tell me and other owners or potential buyers the structure integrity of the boat? I work in testing and inspection for an automotive company and with all the technology and money we have without real world controlled testing we cant claim to really know how a part or complex structure will hold up. I also don't know how a 33' boat with a phrf of 156 is a performance boat that's slower than a lot of production cruiser of that time. If anything its a beamy cruising boat.
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post #15 of 28 Old 12-13-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

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Originally Posted by JShock33 View Post
And from that list of repairs you can tell me and other owners or potential buyers the structure integrity of the boat? I work in testing and inspection for an automotive company and with all the technology and money we have without real world controlled testing we cant claim to really know how a part or complex structure will hold up. I also don't know how a 33' boat with a phrf of 156 is a performance boat that's slower than a lot of production cruiser of that time. If anything its a beamy cruising boat.
Dude, the OP asked for opinions good and bad.

I gave my honest and informed opinion, of both the good and bad.

IMHO, a 156 base PHRF is quite respectable and on par +/- for a 33' LOA performance cruiser.

Mirage 33's tend to do well PHRF racing in the hands of competent skippers.

They are simply not the best cruiser IMHO.

No boat is best at everything.
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post #16 of 28 Old 12-13-2018
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My goal was not to argue but to show what your claims were based off of. Maybe next week or ten years from now someone in the market for a boat in that category will Google it for some information on one and your post with your claims of "The spars are very light and prone to breaking under significant load" or "The hull/keel joint is weak and prone to damage in a grounding" will show. With no one challenging your claims they might seem credible. Then the fact that this is based off of maybe a total of 4 boats out of the 100+ that were built and no actual evidence of keel failure or a mast folding in half hopefully they will dismiss these claims and move on with there search. We all have opinions on different boats some good some bad but to say spares are prone to failure with significant loads which are what? Or the keels are poorly attached then I would like to know the testing you went through to come up with those results that in all my research have never heard off. The reality is you don't know what those loads are nor do you know the strength difference between the keel attachment of a mirage or any other bolt on keel of a boat in its category I have no clue either and would never claim to. If you worked for the company back in the 80s and knew of warranty claims then it would be hard to argue but that is not the case. I just find it funny to watch the years go by and people trashing certain boats mostly "production" ones. With many of them reaching close to forty years old with masts still up and keels still attached. Without worry I will continue to sail mine for years to come leaving the experts in disbelief.
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post #17 of 28 Old 12-14-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

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Originally Posted by JShock33 View Post
My goal was not to argue but to show what your claims were based off of. Maybe next week or ten years from now someone in the market for a boat in that category will Google it for some information on one and your post with your claims of "The spars are very light and prone to breaking under significant load" or "The hull/keel joint is weak and prone to damage in a grounding" will show. With no one challenging your claims they might seem credible. Then the fact that this is based off of maybe a total of 4 boats out of the 100+ that were built and no actual evidence of keel failure or a mast folding in half hopefully they will dismiss these claims and move on with there search. We all have opinions on different boats some good some bad but to say spares are prone to failure with significant loads which are what? Or the keels are poorly attached then I would like to know the testing you went through to come up with those results that in all my research have never heard off. The reality is you don't know what those loads are nor do you know the strength difference between the keel attachment of a mirage or any other bolt on keel of a boat in its category I have no clue either and would never claim to. If you worked for the company back in the 80s and knew of warranty claims then it would be hard to argue but that is not the case. I just find it funny to watch the years go by and people trashing certain boats mostly "production" ones. With many of them reaching close to forty years old with masts still up and keels still attached. Without worry I will continue to sail mine for years to come leaving the experts in disbelief.
Stating "My goal was not to argue", after a lengthy contradiction to one post and preceding another, speaks volumes.

You appear to disagree with my opinion (fine), but having no logical argument against it, have begun attempting to attack my credibility (not cool).

Never-the-less, here is my rebuttal to this tactic.

I have completed extensive studies in Electrical, Electronic, and Mechanical engineering at the Canadian community college level.

I am an ABYC member. (This is the association of industry experts that develops marine safety standards for construction and repair.)

I am an ABYC certified Marine Systems Technician.

I have also completed extensive formal studies in welding and small engines.

I own a yacht service company, and work full time, personally repairing yachts for my many clients.

Among my client base includes 4 Mirage owners, one 24 and three 33s.

I have performed a significant body of work on these vessels and other makes and models.

I am intimately familiar with the engine installed in this vessel and have found it to be light in comparison with others of similar size and displacement, and especially with more robust cruising vessels.

I am a Yanmar dealer.

I have raced and cruised sailing vessels extensively for over 20 years.

I have had several sailing and sailboat repair articles published in respected US and Canadian Yachting publications.

I have and continue to deliver seminars to boating interest groups on the safe and effective repair of yachts.

I have been a member, executive director, vice commodore, and then commodore of a Canadian Yacht Club.

I have reviewed and evaluated Mirage 33 spars, and found them to be of generally weak construction compared to similar and especially to more robust cruising vessels.

I have installed thru-hulls in Mirage 33s and found them to be balsa-cored.

IMHO, this construction is not desirable in a cruising vessel, as the increased potential damage due to moisture ingress, is not worth the fractional increase speed in light airs. (Most cruisers who cannot make 3+/- knots to the good, often just start the engine.)

I have removed factory installed thru-hulls and found the balsa core to be sealed solely by marine adhesive/bedding compound, having a life expectancy of approximately 15 +/- 5 years, barring any physical force which could break this seal earlier and at any time.

I have reviewed, evaluated, rigged, and tuned the M33 mast, and found it to be of relatively light design and construction.

I have a M33 boom in my shop right now that I am working on (poor reefing system performance.)

I have consulted an owner whose boom snapped near the gooseneck as a result of an accidental jybe with preventer on.

I have reviewed and evaluated Mirage 33 keel attachments, and found them to be of inferior design and weak construction compared to other vessels.

I have repaired hull/keel join fractures on 2 vessels are retorqued the keel bolts on one.

This is my business, my livelihood, that I stake my reputation on every day.

Do I know everything?

Not by a long shot.

Despite all of my training and experience to date, I keep my mind constantly open to new ideas and concepts.

I am enrolled in continuing education in the marine industry.

It is a rare day that I have not learned something new.

However, I believe I am well qualified to speak to the qualities of these vessels with which I am intimately familiar, in comparison to other makes and models, that I have also worked on extensively from virtually every aspect of marine repair.

If you personally wish to disregard my opinions, please do so.

If you feel your only strength of rebuttal is to attempt to attack my credibility, please don't.

In summary, IMHO, the Mirage 33 is an excellent performance cruiser if the emphasis is on performance and not so much on robust construction and durability.
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post #18 of 28 Old 12-15-2018
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Not sure where to start.
You brought up the cored hull and engine for what reason I am not sure... Thanks for your resume we will keep you in mind?
I attacked you and your opinion by asking for evidence of these boats being prone for mast, keel and boom failures? I have no facts to prove I never stated any only questions to what you stated. Saying "in my opinion the rigs are a little light" is a lot different than prone to failure. What's "not cool" is stating opinions as facts which hurt the owners of these boats. I can find nowhere other than here in this thread of these boats being any more likely to lose a keel or the mast than any other boat in its class.
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post #19 of 28 Old 12-15-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

Hi Boatsurgeon,

I have a Mirage 35. Iíd like to replace the two reef lines this winter. There appears to be in-boom sheaves around which the lines are routed? Any advice on how to accomplish this?

Thanks!

I am what I am and thatís all what I am - Popeye the Sailor
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post #20 of 28 Old 12-15-2018
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Re: Mirage 33 good and bad

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Hi Boatsurgeon,

I have a Mirage 35. I’d like to replace the two reef lines this winter. There appears to be in-boom sheaves around which the lines are routed? Any advice on how to accomplish this?

Thanks!
This is for a very good customer that I have done a lot of work for over several years, helping to get the boat ready for a significant cruise south in their retirement (Lake ONT - Erie Canal - Hudson - Delaware - Chesapeake - ICW - Florida - Bahamas - Caribbean.)

The current issue is that the reefing system is binding up terribly.

There are a number of cheap blocks on deck and some unnecessary friction points that I drew to the attention of the customer, who is going to address those issues themselves.

But even with those issues isolated there is still an obscene amount of friction internally.

I will be dismantling the boom this week.

It could be fouled by a bird's next or maybe some lines got tangled up internally.

You can google Mirage 33 Reefing and find a diagram.

There is an internal mechanism for each of the first and second tack reefs, to operate the first and second clew reefs, simultaneously (single line reefing system).

There are also a number of nylon rollers on SS pins that have been known to bind up under load in various mechanisms. (I sprayed some dry lube where pins were accessible but it didn't help.)

If there are internal mechanism faults, I will likely offer the customer options for either OEM part replacement, or substitution with Harken blocks and SS lube-for-life bearings where possible.

I will send you a PM if I have any more info after I open the unit up.
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