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Old 21-05-2010, 07:55   #1
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1981 Irwin Citation - First Time Sailboat Buyers Want Your Opinion

First time sailboat buyers - -
My husband and I have found and fell in love with a 34 Irwin Citation. We have not purchased it yet.

I have grown up having a motor boat in the summers and I am not afraid of hard work to get this up and running for possible year round use.

However I was wondering if anyone knows how to estimate having the interior wood redone in a 1981 34 Irwin Citation - -the whole inside needs to be redone.

Where do I start? Am I biting off more than I can chew? Have any of you already done this? What are my options? Do I have to use marine teak? Or something else? Before pouring money into this boat, is it worth it?

I am not even sure if its possible to get something like this done and how long or what cost it would be to get done your opinion?

And what is your overall opinion of this boat? what should i be looking for when i go to see it in person? I know its hard to tell from the attached photos but should we just keep looking?

Photos attached. Thanks
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Old 21-05-2010, 08:02   #2
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attached photos

Sorry here are the photos -
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Old 21-05-2010, 08:29   #3
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By all means, hire a marine surveyor before you buy. That is the only advice I am qualified to give. The boat is gorgeous on the outside though.

I am a Land Surveyor, not a Marine Surveyor btw.

Good luck!
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Old 21-05-2010, 08:39   #4
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General rules for owning an Irwin, be handy and be suspicious.

Resource: Irwin Yachts, you can find the brochure for the Citation 34 at this site, as well as a link to Irwins for sale.

You desperately need a surveyor. The structural bulkheads look like they could be rotted in places. I suspect the "knees" (mini-bulkheads) the chainplates are bolted to are also rotted. Also looks like the opening ports are shot, and have been leaking a long time. You don't necessarily have to refinish everything, you can cover up some of it with other materials.

On the good side, the Citation 34 is a good sailer, and one of the prettiest of the Citations (almost as pretty as the 39/40).
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Old 21-05-2010, 09:43   #5
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Many old boats have leaking ports and surrounding water damage. New ports can be expensive, but this kind of repair is so common that it's almost expected. However, the pictures appear to show water intrusion well beyond simple port leaks. It is critical that you identify the source of these leaks, whether they have been addressed, and if not, how much it will cost to fix them. I echo the need for a good surveyor.
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Old 21-05-2010, 12:54   #6
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Hi everyone thanks for writing back:
Ok so I get a surveyor to take a look at it, about how much do surveyors normally cost. Just so I have an idea.

The benefit of this boat is that its already in the town that we live in so we wuld not have to transport it to get it here.

The owner said its basically cosmetic items that need to be taken care of, and we don’t mind making the investment into the boat, but don’t want to get into a project that is over our heads.

I spoke with the owner and this is some more information that received. What else should I find out from him? ALSO about how much would you offer? Estimate?


Owner’s thoughts:
The name of the style of this boat is a racing cruiser – it’s a large boat. Has had it up to 9 knots and it really can move.

Has a Spinnaker which is really great to have. And it’s all rigged up and ready for cruising or racing. He has taken it out on his own and thinks 2 people could handle it fine.

He said that he has always had it covered.

Were you the original owner?No 1st owner was original owner and its now been in our family for the past 13 years

Do you think it possible to get it up and running for this season?Yes

What shape are the sails in?Good shape – (I think he said 50 foot sail)

Are there any items missing that we would need to replace?Everything is there and is in working order

What type is the engine?Yamaha original engine- gets serviced every year - no gas gage but fill it with diesel and then it will take a long time before you need to fill it again

Are there any leaks (from the port holes etc.?) on the hull is sound -the main problem with the boat was the port windows, the windows were put in by Irwin - -just purchased new locks for them but they usually get pulled out and get replaced People usually Replace the wood around the port windows with fiberglass

Do you have the documents of the service history? –the yard that it’s at now they know the boat well.
Is there a trailer? Do you think we would need one? - -you can’t trailer it is to large -

Bulk head was replaced

Basically just cosmetic things need to be done to the boat. I purchased new locks and new items that will throw into the sale with it
He feels that to have the interior it may only cost about $750 to do and they would use the marine grade teak that I have already purchased. If the yard does the work they would take about a week to complete it.

He had all new cushions just made for it
Replaced the wall between the main birth and the vbirth


Ok so your thoughts.
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Old 21-05-2010, 15:27   #7
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Im sorry but this boat appears to have been partially submerged to to me...rather on the hard due to neglect or in the slip...look at the discolored wood at about the 18" level.

This is just too much all over damage to be from leaking ports. There is no way 750 dollars is going to fix this interior even if you did it all yourself...a yard will charge yo 20k easy to bring her back.

Im not saying its is not worth undertaking..I just want to give you a dose of reality...my boat was partially submerged 14" for 6 hours ... Boat US is into it 62K so-far...not everything done needed done but that is the way insurance works.

Definitely involve a GOOD surveyor...if you have to ask how much that is going to cost you cant afford this boat...sorry to be blunt.

Good Luck.

FWIW if asking price is more then about 10K keep looking....your better off buying at distance somethinmg ready to go at 30K plus shipping...do you want to sail or work on a boat.?
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Old 21-05-2010, 15:41   #8
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What can you live with...

Leaving out structural repairs if you can live with the "stressed boat interior" look then it might be OK.

Do you live close enough and is the rent low enough to make this doable. You need to be able to put in at least 20 hours a week for a few years. Maybe more!

There's no mention of the engine/transmission/log/shaft/skeg/prop. Can you afford a new engine/transmission? Whats the condition of the mast/boom/rigging?

I'll second (or third or whatever) the need for a competent surveyor. Putting a few years of your heart into a boat and finding it to be structurally unsound could be soul destroying.
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Old 21-05-2010, 16:12   #9
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I dunno anything about these boats - but I do know that $750 and a week for the interior is a crock of sh#t ...........which would lead me to disbeleive anything the Vendor said, especially on where the wet came from. A tide mark half way up the wall ain't gonna be a leaking portlight. or condensation
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Old 22-05-2010, 09:28   #10
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Wink thank you

Thanks to everyone who posted.
I / we really appreciate your time and opinions. Experience is wisdom in my book. We have decided to move on and broaden our search.

For the record, The owner is asking 12,500 for the boat. Not knowing that much about the cost of these boats - -i found out that the going rate for this year and model was about $15,000.

With that in mind I figured if we offered 8000 and got it for 9500, and then put in 5000-7000 into it we might be able to get it ready to go for this season.

But i think that you guys hit it on the head that it may have been semerged and I dont think i am getting the whole story from the owner. I feel that we are better off looking else where.

thanks again for all the help.
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Old 22-05-2010, 10:03   #11
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Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post
Im sorry but this boat appears to have been partially submerged to to me...rather on the hard due to neglect or in the slip...look at the discolored wood at about the 18" level.
Funny how you miss that the first time round. Now that I look at it again, you can see it plain as day, including on the door between main cabin and fore cabin, and on the face of the vee-berth locker.

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Old 22-05-2010, 10:41   #12
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I know, In the beginning, I would never have known to look for somehting like that. Now i am seeing it clear as day. thanks again.
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Old 23-05-2010, 08:57   #13
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Ok so I get a surveyor to take a look at it...
I’ve never had a Citation, but have lived aboard a larger Irwin for nearly ten years – generally good sailors, forgiving and reasonably fast for their day, but quality control wasn’t their strong suit. The ports (often Beckson or equivalent) usually had a life expectancy of ten/fifteen years or so, then no matter what they’d leak, but there seems to be far more water encroachment than you’d expect from leaking ports/hatches and I suspect those who “see” partial submersion are correct. See what your surveyor says, but my guess is that if you are a dedicated and skilled do-it-yourselfer (did I mention “dedicated”), then these issues are just a matter of course… but of there is anything structural, and you must depend on a yard/marina, you’ll quickly spend more than the boat is worth.

This is not a reflection on Irwins in general, but this one may have had an extended period of neglect which will require a practiced and skilled eye – generally a surveyor, which you’ll probably need for insurance purposes anyway.

BTW, it’s just me, but I’m suspicious of an owner who calls a bulkhead, a “wall…”
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Old 25-04-2011, 13:50   #14
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Re: 1981 Irwin Citation - First Time Sailboat Buyers Looking for Your Opinion...

RUN!
Not fair of me... sorry... Now go pay a surveyor $800 that will tell you to RUN!

I know the asking price is enticing, but there is a reason for that. Even if you have made up your mind to get an I-34 Citation, make it another one. IMHO, this one is not worth the headaches and surprises in front of you.
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Old 25-04-2011, 17:31   #15
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Re: 1981 Irwin Citation - First Time Sailboat Buyers Looking for Your Opinion...

Can't tell from the photos but I would very strongly suspect their is way more than cosmetic damage in the woodwork. Even if the damage is only cosmetic to bring that up to reasonable condition is weeks of full time, skilled finish and carpentry or many, many thousands of dollars.

I would suspect anything else the seller said.

Another boat for a couple thou more is without a doubt a way better deal.
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