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Old 10-10-2017, 09:05   #1
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Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Hello all,
Richard here. frequent reader/poster...
Tresa and I have been searching for our next boat after spending a month cruising the San Juan Islands and Canada aboard our C26. We just wanted more interior "living" space.

We are SOLD on a center cockpit with aft cabin under 40' with fairly shoal draft (<5', preferably closer to 4' with plans for retiring while exploring the ICW, Florida Keys, Bahamas etc). These parameters are set in stone for us and although we are open to (and would appreciate), suggestions for other boats that meet our "fixed criteria" we may not be aware of, we are absolutely not interested in any boats that do not meet these specifics.

Our first thought was the S2 9.2 (30') CC (We were hoping for "small"). We loved the photos in the listings, but after driving 450 miles one way to see one in person, were were majorly disappointed. The through-way to get to the aft cabin was a low "tunnel" with barely enough headroom to sit up in the rear berth once we got there.

We then set our sights on the S2 11 (36') CC. After watching a YouTube video tour where the 6' tall videographer included himself in his video shots, standing up as he walked back from the main cabin to the aft cabin and standing upright in the aft cabin, we fell in love with that boat. Much research later, we come to find out that only 60 were ever built... Still at the top of our list, but super hard to find. (PS: We're researching for our next boat WAY in advance... Tresa retires in 2 1/2 years, which is when we're hoping to 'take off".)

So we began researching more boats including the Watkins 36 CC (which we "liked" but did not fall in love with), and the Morgan OI which we both don't like at all. Others, like the Endevour were just too expensive... We're "hoping" to spend between $30k & $50k, to leave enough to refit, repair and update.

After discovering the Irwin 37 and 38 CC, we once again fell in love with "our boat". (LOL!) Since we're not planning any water sailing">blue water sailing, the info we learned regarding questionable quality, is concerning, but not a deal breaker...

We're aware that these boats do not do well at all regarding pointing into the wind and although we love to sail, we're not into racing or needing "good" performance. After a long history of blue water sailing with a little racing, we're BOTH way more interested in retiring as COMFORTABLE live aboard "casual" sailors, exploring coastlines with lots of patience to wait for weather windows that meet our needs...

I have two questions I'm hoping to get some feedback, (for now)...

The chain plates for the Irwins were made of SS laminated into the hull during layup. (YIKES!), no way to check for leaks or corrosion besides costly X-Rays and even then... We do like the stays fixed out of the way of the deck, so I'm "thinking":

To circumvent any concerns regarding the integrity of these chain plates, why not just fabricate new ones to go outside of the hull, through bolted with backing plates? (We're fine with the look of exposed chain plates.) I would "hope" that such a move, might only necessitate adjusting the turnbuckles to account for the slight move to the sides. Yes? No? Why for each...

The second question, concerns ketch versus sloop/cutter... We're not too fond of the ketch rig for several reasons, and wondering about just removing the ketch rig and sailing her as a sloop/cutter... In quite a few of the listings we've seen, owners have done just that. Again: Yes? No? and Why for each...

PS: I've been a professional designer/engineer/prototype developer for 30 years with a COMPLETE shop and can build just about anything. (- Jarel Design -) so fabricating is what I do everyday.

Thanks in advance
Best,
Richard & Tresa
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:16   #2
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Regarding the chainplates, my first thought is that if you're going to replace them, and stick to the original design and maintain the deck seal going forward, they should last longer than you'll likely own the boat. So from a maintenance perspective you're not gaining much by putting them entirely outboard. From a cost perspective, it might be cheaper to do outboard ones, but really only if you leave the existing ones there. Not sure what the access is to get to them...that can be a big part of replacement cost/effort.

As for the ketch rig, why remove the mizzen instead of just not using it? What do you really gain by taking it off entirely other than a bit of deck clutter? And having the mizzen could well be something you appreciate in some circumstances, such as at anchor.
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:18   #3
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Best to chat with owners of Irwins -

https://m.facebook.com/groups/125214...?ref=bookmarks
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Old 10-10-2017, 09:54   #4
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Suijin:
Thanks for the thoughtful input!

From what I understand (and can imagine), grinding through the hull from the inside to gain access to the chainplates is a pain. My main reasons for considering installing exterior ones, is ease of this plan of attack, but mostly, not having to worry about the conditions of the stock internal plates, knowing that they are sound (One thing I hate on a boat, is "worrying" about anything... so many systems to keep my eye/ear on LOL!. If I go this route, I'd drill through the internal plates and back them from inside.

Regarding the mizzen mast, yes, clutter is probably our main issue (both on deck: wanting an arch to support solar etc and space to tend to a BBQ Yes, I know the last is minor (almost laughable), but also, to clear up space down below where the support for the mizzen mast is up against the stock rear berth that we'd like to make a little larger.

Although I had the thought of using the mizzen at anchor and to balance the boat with mizzen and foresail only, I forgot about those when I posted... Definitely sound considerations NOT to get rid of the mizzen! Maybe we'll leave that one up to the "Universe" to decide for us when we find the boat we want... If Ketch, maybe live with it, if sloop/cutter, maybe live with that. I Don't need to decide right now, mostly this is just part of our early research. We're still very early in our plans regarding finding the boat(s) we'll submit offers to...

We're planning a trip to LA (We live in southern Oregon), between Christmas and New Years to see four of these Irwins we found in listings (Long Beach and Redondo Beach), I think all of them were ketch rigs.


Malyea: Thanks for the link... Although my bookmark folder is filled with links, I didn't know about that one! It's a "closed" group, but I submitted a request to join it... Hopefully, that's just a formality and there will be tons of info I can learn from.

Thank you to both of you!
Best,
Richard
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Old 10-10-2017, 13:17   #5
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

I lived aboard an Irwin 42 (the non-poop-deck model) off and on for about ten years (80s-90s), and although it was more boat than I liked, the only things I truly grew weary of was the electrical wiring, most of which I replaced over time. Went aboard a 37 a few years back and it struck me as having most of the good aspects of the 42 including the interior space, although not the huge lazaret than mine had … I found the Irwin fiberglass to be almost bullet proof (late 70s model) which may not be everyone’s opinion, but on haul-out I was “fixing” 3-4 blisters, where the more modern boats looked like teenage acne… Am not a racer, so my perspective/experience is less intense, but I liked the ketch because I was often short-handed (lots of folks wanted to go sail – few knew much about it other than the way to the icebox) with all hanked on sails – my first “reef” was generally to just drop the main… Don’t know about the chain-plates, and I never considered venturing the into the high latitudes – had a mizzen baby-stay break on me once – but that was it. Overall, sort of a gentle boat that could knuckle down and boil the wake on an afternoon reach… Oh, mine was the centerboard model – centerboard was not real effective, but I’ve grounded it in the sand more than once on purpose… Cabins were nice for living aboard – redid the nav area as a study-hall, was in grad-school part of the time so got to know the boat pretty well, to the extent you can interpolate to the 37.
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Old 10-10-2017, 13:29   #6
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Lived aboard a 41 CC ketch for six years and loved it. I think similar layout to the 38 which is what we are looking at now. On the 41 the mizzen mast was behind the cockpit so we were still able to have a full cockpit enclosure. The only problem we had was leaking fuel tanks. They were aluminum and bedded in foam. The foam got damp, condensation, and the tanks rotted out on the bottom. Loved the relatively large tanks, 150gal water and 110gal fuel.
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Old 10-10-2017, 14:21   #7
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

WOW!
I've got goose bumps!

Thank you both!!!!!

Most of what I've read (and I read and research a LOT!!!! Never paying attention to just one opinion, but looking at "patterns".), concerns the quality (or lack of), fiberglass work. Also read poor wood work, but from what I've seen in listing photos, seems fine... Besides, father was a fine cabinet maker and I learned a lot from him... I LOVE working with wood and plan on more than a few interior modifications...

I wonder about the years differences regarding glass work on the Irwins. Reading some history, several boat builders at that time, went under (Cost of resins), some share (who knows how reliable), that Irwin tried to cut costs making their hulls thinner... On the other hand, the earlier ones had patterning from the laminates show through to the gel coat, but added a finer weave to the lay up and solved that issue. (Did I mention that I read a LOT? LOL!) I also probably over-think most things... it's part of what I do for a living and it carries over into the rest of my life... My wife is helping me to learn how to just sit back and enjoy life instead of worrying... She's doing a great job while still appreciating my attention to details and safety.

Both of your experiences (especially the amount of time you've spent with your boats), REALLY makes me feel better about the Irwin!!!

40+ feet is way too much boat for us, so we're not even looking... With what we've found so far, 36' to 38' seems to be our "comfort zone" and the Irwin 37' fits right in there... Our biggest love for this boat, is the layout below and the space! Planning on installing a composting toilet in the forward head, so we'll loose that waste tank. Planning on loosing the aft head and turning it into storage (not ripping it apart, just removing the toilet and building shelving etc... So we'll also gain some storage space by loosing that waste tank as well. ... So many plans and we still haven't got the boat! LOL!

I've read reviews claiming that the hulls were thin and some have indentations where they removed the hull out of the mold and placed it on rigid stands to work on the interior while the resin/glass was still too green. (What I loved about the S2 was that they left the hull in the mold to complete bulkheads etc... The layups hardened thoroughly and the bulkheads matched the shape of the hull while it was still in the mold) Really nice to hear your thoughts on your hull...

I have no problem re-wiring... (even the whole boat if needed.. yes, a pain, but something we're expecting to some degree.) our current boat was an electrical disaster waiting to happen with tons of wires connected to the battery with no fuses and in some places, hidden in-line fuses... after a while, I just started from scratch, doing it right (Ex-firefighter... I KNOW what faulty electrical work can do... )

I wondered about the mizzen conflicting with an enclosed cockpit Bimini...

I was expecting problems with the fuel tanks (unless replaced with SS). The S2 had the same issue with aluminum tanks... and yes, we were wonderfully surprised to find such large tanks for fuel and water! I had to add three water tanks to our current boat.

We have a center board now and we love being able to drop it down a little when motoring into shallow anchorages and "bump test" really slowly, raising it and backing out... However, I don't like worrying about the pin failing... In reality, I'd rather have two depth meters (fore and aft) and not pushing it when it comes to skinny water. I'm pretty happy with the 4' 6" draft of the 37'.

Lazeratte space? We can probably deal with that, maybe creating above deck boxes aft, double as seats maybe. This seemed to be a common add-on on the S2 9.2 CC...

The 42 is definitely too much boat for us. I think we're a little more inclined to lean towards the 37 rather than the 38. Big difference in price and not much more regarding space. I'd rather use the price difference for refitting.

Really nice to hear from long time owners liking their Irwins! Comforting.

Thanks for mentioning the reefing, dropping the main and leaving mizzen and foresail up... I'm planning to run all lines into the cockpit (including down hauls), so that should make it even easier. Although we're of the mindset to reef way before thinking about having to! LOL!

When you say your baby stay broke, was it the chain plate or the actual stay (Cable or turn buckle? original standing rigging?) That's one thing I would like to replace if we find a boat that still has original standing rigging. again, just that much less to worry about.


Thanks so much guys!

OK... just came to the computer to send update photos and drawings to my client... need to get back to work... Would be so much nicer to be working on a boat! LOL!

Best,
Richard
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Old 10-10-2017, 14:51   #8
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Don't know what years you're looking at, but our 41 was an '84. From what I could tell the hull was bullet proof. Getting it compounded and waxed, it look as good as a new boat, amazing shine.
We also heard stories that the hulls were like egg shells and if you put them in the slings at a travel lift the whole boat would crush. Never any first hand experience, always some twice told tale.
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Old 10-10-2017, 15:06   #9
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

LOL! Crushing hull?!?!?!?!
Unfortunately, I can picture that!!!! YIKES!

And, as you suggest.. twice told tale... Never heard that one before, but from the negative reviews I've read, I can imagine it, although... LOTS of photos in the listings with 37s on the hard...

One 'story" I read was about a larger (60' ?) Irwin actually twisting in the water on a wave... Not surprised with a larger boat... a lot more leverage from bow to stern...

So many "stories" and we know how people love to tell horror stories, even if they don;t own the boat, but heard it from a guy, who knows a guy who.... Hard to tell fact from fiction... So nice to hear first hand accounts! Thank you!

Part of why I'm treading lightly and slowly, trying to learn as much as I can way before we pull the trigger.

Thanks for the "twice told tale"... still something to consider though. Thanks for mentioning what year yours was built.
Richard
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Old 11-10-2017, 06:17   #10
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarel Design View Post
When you say your baby stay broke, was it the chain plate or the actual stay (Cable or turn buckle? original standing rigging?) That's one thing I would like to replace if we find a boat that still has original standing rigging. again, just that much less to worry about.
On the 42' mizzen, the lowers came to a plate on the trunk-cabin side that was through-bolted to a fitting inside the cabin and then another short stay, "baby-stay," from the inside the cabin down to the actual chain-plates... the original looked to be little more than life-line diameter and construction, so when the cable broke we went up one size on cable and turnbuckle and it never was an issue after... probably has some proper nautical sounding name, but we always called it the baby-stay...
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:11   #11
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

I drilled some holes through the hull when installing a watermaker. Don't remember the actual thickness bout it seemed plenty thick. And we are looking to buy another Irwin in the 38' range. So obviously we aren't worried about the hull collapsing.
Bob
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:53   #12
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

I liveaboard a 1987 38 CC MK II. The inline master "queen" is complimented by two lazarettes on the aft deck vs the original huge midship on the earlier models.

As mentioned the hull layup is heavy. Prices vary with condition but there are lots of them on the market.

The nearly 1000 members on the Facebook group Irwin Sailboats are the most civil closed group on Facebook.... come join us.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:19   #13
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Would love to find one with the centerline bed. All the ones I have found currently listed on the East Coast or Gulf Coast have been the athwart-ship berths.
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Old 11-10-2017, 11:24   #14
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

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Would love to find one with the centerline bed. All the ones I have found currently listed on the East Coast or Gulf Coast have been the athwart-ship berths.
They began at some point in 1986 with the newer layout below.

Single passageway aft via the nav station. Refrigeration moved to athwart ship and saloon is slightly longer.

Nice not to have to crawl over your partner if you got to bed first. The reason I used the quotation marks is that the "queen" is only queen width at the hips. The head and foot are regular double.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/125214284225649/ Try this link to join our group. As mentioned it is a closed group of 953 members but worth waiting for a moderator to approve your entry.
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Old 15-10-2017, 08:52   #15
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Re: Irwin 37/38 CC Questions/Advice

Putting Doctor,
Thank you for the Face Book info. Someone earlier gave me a link and (Not at all being computer savvy!), I "tried" to join and figured I just didn't do something right.

Not recognizing that your link was the same, I pressed it and Wala! It let me in instantly!

GREAT bunch of people! (I only had a little while to just scan over the posts), but super nice members, super helpful and it's all about Irwins! Wow! Found several members who did install exterior chainplates along with measurements and photos (Much easier job than digging though the original.)

After a LOT more research, I'm now feeling MUCH better about buying an Irwin for out intended cruising/live-aboard plans... Now, I'm trying to narrow down which one... I've been looking/book marking tons of listing photos for the 37CC and like the large aft bed that runs from side to side (I "think" that's on the later year MK V?)... The earliest version seems to be two single aft berths, and an other where there's a double berth to starboard and a single settee to port. Still trying to figure out which year/model was which. Downloaded just about ALL the info on the 37 and 38 from the Irwin site. Still unclear about this one detail.

Another issue is the wing, bolt on keel on the 38... I don't like at all. From what I've read, the 37CC keel is encapsulated lead. However, they "seemed" to have made a center board model for both as well... Another drawback to the 38 is the higher price tag.

We've found two Irwin 37CC and two Irwin 38CC listings in the Los Angeles area(Redondo Beach and Long Beach). We're planning to fly down over Christmas break (Tresa works for the school district) and go take a look at them. Also visit with our old sailing buddies. (Used to live near marina del Rey where I kept my boats.)

Anyone else have either an Irwin 37 CC with the aft larger bed (side to side), again, not sure which model that is, but I 'think, it's the MK V, or an Irwin 38 CC we could take a look at while we're down there?

I'll post these questions on the Irwin face book site. Thank you again for that! Going over there now!

Best,
Richard
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