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Old 08-10-2010, 10:43   #1
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New Guy Looking for Answers

Hi, my name is Patrick and my wife and I are about to take the jump from landlocked in the middle of this country to live aboard cruisers.
We're looking for our first boat, and have been looking cassually for years. Now the time is here and we have to narrow the search and find the right boat. I saw a 42' Irwin Mark III that seemed to have everything we are looking for, but heard that they are thin in the hull and not good for long distance cruising.
Any Ideas?
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:44   #2
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Hello Patrick, I assume the Irwin is about 20 years old. I would not suggest that this age is a problem, but vintage boats vary more by their former care than by the reputation of their original manufacturer. Also, the quality and strength of the vessel you obtain is related to where and how you plan to use the vessel. Certainly there are plenty of boats of greater and lesser quaity than the Irwin, but many an old boat has proven itself to be stronger than their crew. I would also think that there is cause to evaluate the size of the vessel that would best suit your needs. We moved up to a 41 foot boat when our two children were approaching their teenage years in order for them to have their own private cabin space. Often, a couple moving from a house find it difficult to deterrmine their size requirements in a boat. We found that we were very comfortable on a 33' boat before we had children, though when first looking, we couldn't imagine living aboard anything less than forty feet. Tell us a little more about your expectations with the boat and your future plans. My own vessel is comparable to the Irwin and quite suitable for our seasonal trips from Maine to the Bahamas, but it's not a boat for passages in the roaring forties!l
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:45   #3
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You will know when u find ur perfom a level that i wont explain boat it will speak to u. And u will know
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:47   #4
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Welcome to the forum! One thing to be aware of: we are an international forum, and so when you say that you're from "the middle of this country" you're forcing us to guess what country you're actually from.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:50   #5
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Patric - I have been aboard a few older Irwins and I have to say that there are some issues with build quality that I would consider. I think if they have been impecably maintained and upgraded, they might be fine, but otherwise, you could have problems.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:13   #6
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i tried to sail an irwin-- i would not recommend doing that-- they are great liveaboards. i hated sailing the one i had to sail. was a delivery. everyone has a different way of sailing and different likes and dislikes in boats-- why dont you try sailing some boats and see how they perform. i like sailing with others on their boats as a way of seeing how any boat will behave. after you see how it will act under sailing conditions, then see how you feel about the bot. if you LOVE iit and HAVE to have one--go for it----

ps--welcome here-- is a friendly place----even if folks dont like your particular choice--you will know why!!!! have fun---- sail a lot!!!!
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Old 10-10-2010, 19:15   #7
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Thanks for all the feedback, some good things to consider, 1st. Thanks to Bash for reminding me that this is an international forum, I am from Colorado, USA. I don't get alot of opportunities to sail yet. Our plan is to find a boat that is comfortable and safe that we can travel around the U.S. and carribean while we gain more experience and comfort then eventually travel to other parts of the world, on our first boat, or maybe we'll upgrade after we become more knowledgeable.
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Old 10-10-2010, 19:58   #8
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Patric, I just moved to the gulf coast from Boulder....traded the front range for the good winds and better fishing....i miss the view....but not the cold winds....good luck
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Old 10-10-2010, 21:04   #9
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Welcome to the forum Patric. We live on the western slope of Colorado, have a 25' trailer sailer with leaks and wrung out sails and have learned so much in just the last year. The boat has been a great "training wheels" boat in terms of sailing and boat maintenance. And this forum has been quite informative and the posters encouraging. Do you sail in Colorado? Sure is a challenge with the crazy mountain winds changing direction every couple of minutes! We are in year 2 of the 5 year plan to head to less land locked locales and search for the big boat. This forum is chock full of useful information, and helpful folks. You'll like it here. Good luck in your search.
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Old 10-10-2010, 21:47   #10
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Colorado. Perfect. Coloradoans tend to make for great sailors.

In terms of interior space and general liveability, it's going to be hard to find any boat that surpasses the Irwin on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Age is going to be the main factor that you'll be dealing with; you're talking about a boat that's going to need constant upgrading on systems. If you're handy and you get a boat that's been well cared for, you could be getting a fantastic buy. The Irwin has never been all that impressive in terms of performance, nor is it the sort of boat you'd pick to transit the Southern Ocean. If that's what you realistically plan to do, keep looking. If you're talking about a liveaboard that can take you from either coast of the USA down to Mexico, et cetera, it could be a cool boat to own.

As far as the criticism that it's got a thin hull, that's probably a bit unfair. The boat is heavily enough built that it will not oil-can in heavy seas. On the other hand, some Irwins are prone to develop leaks, and backing plates for such things as stanchions and chainplates were not up to modern standards. A GOOD SURVEY ON THE BOAT WILL POINT OUT ALL THESE PROBLEMS.
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Old 10-10-2010, 22:10   #11
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Patrick, welcome aboard! I'm a "neighbor" from New Mexico and have visited Dillon, Carter Lake, and Cherry Creek and know a few CO sailors.

You have many options for picking a boat. But most people on these forums will advise a careful approach, taking time to learn more about boats and the kind of sailing you will most enjoy. I agree that the careful approach minimizes the chances of picking a boat that you won't be happy with and gives you the most boating bang for the buck.

There are many ways of becoming more boat savvy and I think a mixture of reading, chatting with sailors on line and face to face, taking lessons, practicing on smaller boats, chartering, crewing, helping out at sailing events, watching videos, helping with boat repairs, joining sailing clubs or co-ops, and doing everything you can to get a feel for the cruising lifestyle is good. Each approach is particularly good at some things and mixing them up is a great way to accelerate your learning.
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Old 16-10-2010, 12:50   #12
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i love this forum and you will too!
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Old 31-10-2010, 14:21   #13
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
Although I own a 42 footer I'd say it is too big and would recommend looking at several in the 35/36 foot range just to see if you can find one that size that would meet your needs. You can look at the links after my signature to see if anything might be there.
kind regards,
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Old 31-10-2010, 17:18   #14
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Patrick, although new to this site too I am not new to sailing. I started sailing when I was 11 and sailed my Dad's 37' center cockpit Irwin from 1979 to a couple years ago when I purchased my Pearson 38'. My parents, younger sister, brother and I sailed the Irwin 37' from City Island, NY through the Intracoastal to Ft. Lauderdale Florida then left the mainland to the Bahama Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, American Virgins and British Virgins. We were on board for a year and found the boat fine for our needs. The Irwin is a real cruiser and slow sailor but works well for a family and very good for living aboard. My Pearson has something I wish my Dad had installed and that is A/C. Dealing with those hot days in the Caribbean can really make for some sleepless nights and if you manage to fall asleep a rain shower coming through the hatch will surely wake you. The Irwin has great water and fuel capacity which I wish my Pearson had. The one thing the Irwin is known for is leaking from places on deck to below you may never find. Nothing serious but annoying especially if you are maticulous like my Dad and of course I became.
Good luck in your search and living aboard is more rewarding than any box on land.

Joe From Jersey, New Jersey, USA that is :-)
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Old 31-10-2010, 17:30   #15
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patrick and joe--you both have good boats for living and starting sailing. is difficult to hurt them-- just dont broach-- i found they like to try to do that in 30 ft pacific ocean seas--probably not gonna be those where you are...
look to the ports, hatches and chainplates for leaking---
smooth sailing !
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