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Old 17-10-2016, 19:29   #31
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Re: Irwin 65 / 68 for world cruising

Can't imagine why you would want any boat this large. Ignoring quality issues, which of course should not be ignored, such a large boat just complicates the cruising lifestyle unnecessarily in my opinion. Sails, and ground tackle are heavy and harder to deal with. Repair and maintenance costs are high. I found in the Caribbean that our 45' was about average. Once we got to obscure parts of the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic the average was about 40. I think I would stay below 50' with a family. Even for this size make sure that winches, curlers, and windlass are powerful.
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Old 20-10-2016, 22:02   #32
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Re: Irwin 65 / 68 for world cruising

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Originally Posted by Painted Skies View Post
In the 1980's when I was just getting started learning to sail larger sailboats, I often heard tales of Irwins that sank. If I recall correctly, the problem was not with the keel but rather with how the hull was constructed - in two separate halves and then fiberglassed together. Whether or not that is correct - here's a true tale of one that did sink....

I attended my sister's wedding in Arizona in 1986 where I met their best man. This guy and his father lived on, cruised, and crew-chartered their 65' Irwin in the Caribbean. I asked him about the Irwin's reputation for sinking and he just laughed it off. Well, less than six months later they were sailing on passage between the islands when they had a breach in the hull - the two halves were separating... before they could get to shallow enough water, the boat sunk. It wasn't insured; they lost everything.

I would love to hear more about what actually happened, if in fact anything happened at all. First nearly all sailboats are constructed in two molds, the hull and the deck are separate laminations and are joined by various means. Irwin did not glass the hull to deck joint, which in fact is the strongest of all methods, instead they used an overlapping joint with a polyester bonding compound screwed together,, both in the glass below the cap rail and through the cap rail and joint. As a new construction this joint was fabulously strong. It was not until much later that concerns about crevis corrosion and the polyester compound becoming brittle began to arise. Just FYI there is no record of such an incident with any Irwin 65/68, not recorded anywhere, Gene Gammon of Irwin Yachts, the head of the 65/68 platform at the time attests to no such loss. Again this is another bs rumor thrown out by someone who knows nothing about boat construction. Fact is there was one Irwin 65 lost in the Carribean and to a hurricane while tied up to a concrete dock. Yes the dock sustained lots of damage from the behemoth of fiberglass and resin pounding into it. Lol.

Irwin yachts suffers some bad knocks for producing a great and affordable boat in the early 80's that could be had by other than "yachtsman" and that pissed a whole lot of blue bloods off at the time. Irwin is responsible for the modern raised deck saloon among many other fanstadtic innovations. (This pissed off a lot of the crowd as well..imagine the gall of putting big salon windows in a sailboat) Fact is that Irwin manufactured more 65/68' boats than any other manufacturer from that time forward COMBINED!! These big boats have sailed all over the world for more than 30 years. We can get into the specifics on what should be upgraded on an Irwin 65, but for those who've only just heard rumors let's add a little:

The big old Irwin 65 is smoking fast with a powerful ketch rig. Sail area is over 2000sq feet in primary sails alone.
The construction consists of a laminated grid, fully tabbed bulkheads, glassed in hull stiffeners the entire length, all furniture and interior components glassesed into the hull structure, a double hull above the fully encaposated virgin lead ballast keel, her motion comfort ratio is extremely high, livable space is still unparalleled on brand new boats, ventilation Is excellent, ammentities abound. Tankage is unbeleivable with approximated 1000 gallons of water and 620 gallons of desiel. The Perkins engines are reliable workhorses and many came in the 200hp turbo version- nearly indestructible. Storage space is vast, and well thought out and the interior layouts are fabulous for living aboard or intertaining. I could go on...

No question that a 30 plus year old boat needs to be gone through from stem to stern by a knowlegable surveyor and there are areas specific to these boats like the mast steps that need to be given extra attention. In all though the 65 is a very cable world cruiser, strong and fast, albeit a larger boat than most would really "need".
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Old 21-10-2016, 14:57   #33
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Re: Irwin 65 / 68 for world cruising

We had an Irwin 54, a good friend of ours had the 52. In both cases the boats weathered hurricanes, spent years in the carribean, and had families living aboard. In bo cases there is no question the 54/68 is far preferred over the 52/65. The larger are better built and the aft lazarrette on the boats really make a difference in livability.

But all four options are great at what they are. Relatively slow heavy cruisers with a premium on space and comfort. Speed demons they are not.
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