I've owned an '76 Irwin 10/4 for about 15 years now, sailing on the sounds of North Carolina. It's a great weekender, big for it's size, the beam also makes it fairly stable. The cockpit is also fairly large, we have can get 8 people in there without too much problem. We've had it out in the sounds when we shouldn't have and other than us turning a little green, the boat did fine.
She sails pretty good in my book, though I do tend to reef her early, maybe 15-18 knots. And she always seems to want at least some headsail out, just doesn't pull well with only the main.
A number of them came with a 7hp diesel, Yanmar YSB8. This is a great little engine that I can't seem to kill given that it starts first time every time after almost 40 years, but at 7000lbs, the boat is a little under powered. On the plus side, I struggle to empty the 15 gallon diesel tank in a season and in NC my season goes pretty much 12 months a year. (62 and sunny this weekend)
Course Irwin has the reputation of being an Irwin.. All the portlights leak. The mast step tends to leak, some of them came with the wooden mast compression post sitting in the bilge water, mine it sits up on a fiberglass pedestal. The decks are plywood cored, so you can get water intrusion. The centerboard can be troublesome (As can any centerboard) and the shallow draft makes for a smaller rudder that can get overpowered. You could probably say all of this for most boats this old.
All in all, I love the boat for the way I currently use a boat.
If you have any specific questions, I'd be glad to answer what I can.
I just spent the weekend cleaning up my new to me Irwin 10/4 much more needs to be done. The bowsprit looks great but the wood is shot not sure if the time to replace it is worth it on my list of priorities with the main stress pulling up on the cable that all looks solid maybe I'll wait on that. I'm also not sure about how to deal with the drop keel it needs to be re-cabled how do you paint in there? do you take the keel out? It looks like it needs more room to paint in there while it's only 14" to the ground.
I'm a jack of some trades master of a few. I've had many boats but this one sure needs some help. If you have any links that could prove helpful that would be great. Where is the best Yanmar parts site? I have the one you have I think 8hp? the exhaust elbow is shot. I can't find a club or forum dedicated only to the 10/4?
I sail in the Peconic bays on Long Island N.Y. My friend Invited me down to the race in his 32 Tartan out to Ocracoke. He's a Professor at Greenville college and keeps his boat east of little Washington on the Pamlico river. The last trip we took was to Bellhaven. Thanks, Roger
Are you saying the plywood core in the bowsprit is rotted? Not sure how structurally critical that is. I have talked to another 10/4 owner who replaced the core in his bowsprit but though it would have held fine without the plywood as the fiberglass is pretty thick on it. And yes, a good part of the stress is up-down, but I would expect the jib to add some horizontal stress as well.
I have had to replace my centerboard cable once and had the boatyard do it. The previous owner had a lady friend that could fit her hand up in the well and rewire it. The curse of the centerboard is that they are difficult to work on just in that it's hard to do any work up in the well. I will typically get the boatyard to lift my boat in the hoist and then go to lunch so I can paint the centerboard. Always makes me nervous being under 8000lbs swinging in the wind, but it seems to work, I normally don't get much growth on the centerboard.
The Yanmar elbow is a pretty common piece to go, I plan on every 5 years or so. I get a number of parts from Mack Boring on the web, but I've always gotten the elbow from our local dealer here, Deatons Yacht. Typically I also get the downpipe and the exhaust manifold at the same time as they tend to rust into one piece.
I've had my 10/4 out to Ocracoke, that's a 2 day trip for me from New Bern but a nice sail. Belhaven is on our list as well, but haven't made it up that far yet. That gets to be a tight sail for a weeks vacation leaving time for a weather window.
My first sail, the one that got me hooked on sailing as a kid, was up on the Hudson River out of Kingston.
There is a clean Irwin 10/4 for sale at our club in North East, MD, I think the owner is looking for around $3500. He was replacing the plywood in the bowsprit last week.
Looks like a nice boat for the Chesapeake, if anyone is looking PM me and I'll put you in touch with the owner
I sailed one a couple of times in the early 80's on the Chesapeake and was very impressed with her roominess and how well she sailed and handled in light winds. I remember that the centerboard pendant broke...can't recall much else but it is a compromised design in many respects. If you want a similar LOA boat that also has a lot of room consider the Nonsuch 26--very different from the Irwin 10/4 in many respects but similar in terms of room and beam.
The pin holding the center board on my Irwin 10/4 looks pretty shot anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? How is it held in? If I tap it through should I maybe replace it with stainless rod with threads on both ends? Roger
I had my centerboard off maybe ten years ago. It's just that stainless steel pivot rod that is epoxied into the leading edge of the keel. Mine had worked through the fiberglass on one side so no telling how long it would have been before the pivot rod wiggled out completely and the centerboard dropped out. I tapped it back in with a hammer and epoxied a flat washer on the end of the pivot rod to give it something to push against. That was a couple haul outs ago and it seemed to be holding.
If you could find a rod that was threaded on just the ends that would probably work. I was thinking at the time that a long smooth shaft bolt would also work. I wouldn't put a nut on the other end. Just epoxy it in and the bolt head would give the fiberglass a little purchase to grab on to. There isn't much weight on that centerboard, so that shouldn't be an issue.
I guess the other question is if stainless is the right metal. I understand stainless isn't good imbedded in fiberglass as it can't get oxygen. Having said that, mine didn't look bad after 30 years. Maybe it isn't stainless? Don't know.
I took your advice and after a new bow sprit, 1,500$ on 8 hp yanmar repair, paint everywhere port lights and a trip to Ocrocoke NC for a race that got canceled 1/2 way due to lighting wow what humidity great time though. Now I'm having the yard do the rest, stuffing boxes and some pretty rusty pullyes to the center board with luck we may just sail this year. This badly neglected boat has been quite a challenge . With lives curve balls thrown in. I hope we can keep in touch I've read your post a number of times it's the best info I have on this boat I really have great plans for summer fun on her. We sail great and little Peconic mostly. I'll moor the a few hundred feet from where Einstien kept his boat when he summered in Cutchogue. Hope you don't mind if we have a few more questions when we actually get in the water. Have a great summer, Roger
Has anyone owning an Irwin 10/4 had a problem with the center of the mast moving forward and aft when motoring into a head sea? I notice that there is only a single lower shroud! I had a Columbia Challenger sloop years ago that also came with a single lower shroud. When motoring into a head sea, the middle of the mast would move forward and back! I subsequently installed double lowers.
Rudy, I haven't noticed that on mine, though maybe I just haven't known to look. The mast is pretty substantial compared to some other 25 footers I've looked at. I think double lowers wouldn't be that hard to do and probably a smart upgrade. We had a 10/4 at our marine lose its mast during a hurricane when the steel I-beam the shrouds attach to gave way. That I beam is susceptible to rust and not easily examined. So lowers straight through the deck to each of the bulkheads would take some of the stress off that I beam.
A removable baby stay would be a more logical, cheaper and simpler way to stiffen up single lowers than changing to double lowers. It can be released from the deck and held at the mast until it is needed.