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Old 25-02-2008, 19:16   #1
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Opinions, Irwin 43 Center Cockpit

My wife has finally agreed that we can sell everything and move aboard (A lot of snow has help the decision). We are in the early stages of looking, I have seen several Irwin's for sale that look to be big enough for our little family and would probably fit the bill as well as in my price range. I would just be doing some coastal and a little island hoping, when time permitted.
Any info from owners or previous owners would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 26-02-2008, 05:32   #2
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Should be no shortage if information on the Irwin 43’ for the purposes you intend – I believe those were exactly what she was designed to do… I lived aboard a 42’ for some years – no raised poop-deck, smaller aft cabin than a 43’ but a huge lazaretto and the more or less standard Irwin underbody and sailing qualities…

Pluses of the type: Generally very forgiving under sail and power; like a freight train on a beam-reach (but then so are most boats) roomy and spacious below decks for its length; fiberglass generally average or above average for the era; luxurious head/shower availability for a boat this size; galley reasonably useful underway, but sink under side-deck on the 42’s only drained well on one tack; accommodates dinghy davits very nicely; good separation between owner and guests; overall a decent quality vessel if it has received a modicum of care.

Minuses: The hull liner is a bear to work around for almost anything one wants to do; the engine “room” (at least on the 42’ was more like a dungeon – reasonable access with the panels off, but not a place you’d want to inhabit indefinitely while in a seaway; no genuine sea-berths, although the settees could serve the purpose with weatherboards; anything electrical is suspect – on my 42’ eventually replace the entire 110volt and 90% of the 12volt items (see hull-liner comment); thru-hulls (at least on the 42’) seemed to have been purchased from the lowest bidder, check carefully; not all deck hardware inspires confidence – for instance the use of snap-shackle snatch-block for turning blocks on the heavily loaded 5/8”+ jib sheets; overall the manufacture, hardware and assembly seemed not quite at the level of the design.

Overall: A pretty good boat for what I used it for; coastal/Bay sailing and liveaboard… was never cramped below with a couple and two dogs, as well as occasional long-term live-aboard guests… the ketch rig is entirely manageable short handed without furling gear, although most will have it. Even the shoal draft model (mine was a centerboard, but I rarely dropped the board) pointed well, and could pinch up remarkably when I needed to -- and it has to be one of the easiest boats of that size to dock… bow sprit makes anchor handling a breeze, wide decks are confidence inspiring… the amount of Plexiglas and (seemingly) undersized standing rigging would keep me out of the high-latitudes (but of course the mere thought of it suffices, so not a big deal). Overall, a secure and comfortable vessel, worthy to contemplate for what you have in mind …

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Old 26-02-2008, 19:02   #3
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Thanks DC, just the info that I was in search of.
"anything electrical is suspect"
I suspect anything 20 years or so is going to be.
The though of another winter kinda like what I have had so far will keep me down south for a long time.
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Old 27-02-2008, 06:38   #4
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You may already have this site but....Irwin Yachts
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Old 14-04-2008, 20:54   #5
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Have no specific experience with the Irwin 43 but can offer opinions on the Irwin line in general. They are very roomy, comfortable liveaboards and a lot of boat for the money, but they are not built for serious offshore sailing. If you truly plan on island hopping the Irwin should do and with a little "upgrading" you can make the boat a bit safer and more reliable.

I would check the steering system carefully including the wheel and pedestal, all pulleys and cables. Also I would check cleats (especially anchor cleats) and other deck hardware for proper installation with good backing plates or similar reinforcement. I have friends that did deliveries on Irwins in the past that experienced failures in these areas.

If you do go offshore think about reinforing the large windows.

Good sailing.

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center cockpit, Irwin

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