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I am finally getting back into sailing after fifty years! My wife and I are looking at an Irwin 25 that is at least 3rd owner and the present owner bought it as an abandoned boat from the marina (on a lake) where it is currently. We can pick this boat up cheaply, very cheaply and aside from some cosmetics she is in great shape for her age. We plan to leave her on the lake, at least for now. I am concerned with a couple of things:

1. I have never sailed a centerboard boat (grew up on a 42' Schooner in Boston), what do I need to know?
2. Current owner doesn't have any manuals......does anyone have an owners manual available electronically for this boat?
3. The mainsail halyard appears to be partially jammed at the mast head....It is set up as a loop with a snap shackle at the head of the main and the other end a snap shackle attached at the same place an being used as a down haul...is this common now?? Has anyone had this jamming problem? I am hesitant to put anyone in a Bosun's chair using the only other spare halyard.
Any information or ideas you may have will be greatly appreciated !!
 

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That halyard situation doesn't sound like anything I've ever seen or heard of (which doesn't say all that much).

As long as you have been away from the sport, are you confident in inspecting the boat? Based on the history you described it would surprising if there werent at least a few serious problems lurking. Post some pictures!

There are plenty of centerboard sailors here who can chime in. She'll sail just fine with the board up but will point better with it down. You can just leave it alone until you get the feel of the boat. I'm not a CB fan; extra moving parts below the waterline.
 

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No, the main halyard set up as a loop as you describe is not normal. Not clear what problem some previous owner was trying to solve. In any case, you will need to sort that out.
 
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