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Old 01-22-2007, 04:23 AM   #1
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Default Irwin 44 pointing up-wind ???

Hi all,

I'm from New Zealand and looking for a suitable yacht to cruise from the US to the MED. and home via the red sea I like the 44 Irwin 88-89 model but I have now been told that they will not point up wind and are a pig to sail this has came from person who claims to have sailed on one and person that owned the was so disapointed he sold it. Is it true ? if it is, Can anyone sujest a suitable alternitive I only want to spend around 120-130k U.S.I like the hunter but I would prefur a centre cockpit.

Many thanks.

Graham
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:08 PM   #2
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Not familiar with the Irwin but a Hunter is not a good choice for your voyage. I've owned one and would best put it as a coastal yacht. Hardware and fittings are low quality... other factors like the sailplan and rigging should deter you. Fun boats to sail though. JMO

You should be able to find a very good cruising boat in Florida well within your budget. Another option is to buy a yacht in the Caribbean..quite often someone from Europe will make the voyage across the Atlantic and give up, selling their boat at heavy discount. Same is true in Hawai'i for yachts having voyaged from the US west coast, but there are fewer of these.

http://www.boattraderonline.com/ is an excellent website for boats for sale. Remember price is nearly always negoitable in the US. NZ "ONO" is the same as US "OBO".

Other notes.

Your direction of travel will be difficult. Always get a survey before buying.

I'm in New Zealand currently (Gulf Harbor) and aware of the import tax on boats brought into the country and not transient. Have you looked into this and know what your expense will be?
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Old 01-22-2007, 07:54 PM   #3
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I am suprised about the light gear on the Hunter, I know that a lot of the charter boats for sale gear is on the light side, I'm not worried about dutie bringing the boat back to NZ as I will be off shore for about 6-8 years and what ever I buy I will register in NZ as I can do it via email from the US then you can apply to the NZ coastgard and get your vhf call sign thatway yoyu are returning in a NZ reg. boat , I have a freind who has done just that, I'm not giving up on the Irwin yet, In my weiw it has a fin keel 9000lbs of balast and if the mast is tuned right it should go to windward ok. The only thing is the person I spoke to was a boatie and was on the boat , In my wiew if was it tuned properly it should be ok. because a badly tuned boat is a **** to sail, I have sailed on a 45 Gulfstar almost the same and that was great both built in Florida in the 80- ies, I am hopping to buy somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico and use that as a starting point
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:09 PM   #4
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Spike,

Newer Hunters or older ones?

I've not been on one yet but I'm considering a hunter 45CC among a couple of other boats and I'm wondering if they would fall in the same category as you describe.
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Old 01-23-2007, 05:44 PM   #5
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I owned a 2000 Hunter 460. Really fun to sail and single hand, slow due to the sail plan (more suitable to a catamaran), but really cheap hardware and fittings. Some great features...the transom rail seats are terrific, and mine had a fiberglass radar arch with light and speakers built in. Really great cockpit. Unfortunately the stainless is as thin as possible. Line clutches, blocks...everything is poor quality, or undersized.

Hunter boats are lower initial cost then most boats. As most of the cost in a new boat is hardware and fittings it's easy to see where they saved money during manufactor. But the fiberglass is pretty thin also. Look at a benneteau and compare it to a hunter. It will be obvious. As a side note...they don't hold their value very well. If you could get it to New Zealand it would be a fun coastal boat but I'd never take one offshore. Still JMO.
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:12 PM   #6
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What did you trade the Hunter on Spike?

David
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:43 AM   #7
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Graham, I write this from the 'homeport' of Irwin Yachts, St. Petersburg, Florida. Ted Irwin was originally a local boy who was also a great sailor, he made a name for himself competitively, and eventually this led to him founding a boat building firm. The firm built some boats that sailed well but also many that sailed poorly; these latter designs are many of the larger models that were in part competing for business among the charter fleets that we blossoming in the 70's and 80's.

As my surveyor and friend of Ted's has said to me, 'Ted's great to sail with; just don't buy one of this boats and ask me to survey it.' Even among the other 'built to a price' production builders here on Florida's west coast, where boat building was more about volume than it was craftsmanship, Irwin stood out as providing generally poor build quality. And the bigger the boat - and these days, the more complex the boat - the more one should IMO be wary of choosing an Irwin for challenging sailing. Most especially, ocean crossing sailing.

This is of course mitigated by the fact the Irwins you will be looking at will have experienced substantial owner maintenance & upgrades before you came along...which may be good news, or not. 1980's boats are in some cases almost rebuilt by now, but the basic structural elements will be what Irwin originally created. And FWIW I think the advice you got about windward sailing is likely to be quite accurate. Most 44's rely on a lot of form stability but minimal draft, have wide sheeting angles, and will show the ocean an asymetric hull form when heeled. Not a great prescription for windward ability, no matter how much ballast. Lest we forget, Irwin was also the builder that introduced a jacuzzi spa on the after deck of their sailboats, suggesting perhaps the kind of sailor they sought in the marketplace.

Good luck on the search...

Jack
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Old 01-24-2007, 08:30 AM   #8
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Do a search on Yachtworld for Valiant 40's and 42's. There are a few older Valiants for sale in your price range. Some of the older boats had blister issues so buyer beware. I wouldn't trust an Irwin or a Hunter offshore. You could spend a bundle upgrading them to that level and still not be where the Valiant starts strengthwise. A Niagara is another nice well built boat but rare. Either go to weather just fine. You may spend more money on either but they are worth it. RT
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:55 PM   #9
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I sold the Hunter and bought my current boat...a 37' Lagoon Catamaran, built by TPI for Jeanneau (a US built boat). It's a good boat for my cruising, and I keep her light. Shallow draft, good bridge deck clearance, easy to single hand, lots of space and privacy for crew, good ride in bad weather, doesn't roll at anchor or at sea, fast, large cockpit, salon and berths. She'll float if filled with water and I can fly the spinnaker single handed as no pole is needed. Mainly got tired of spending time heeled over in a monohull.

Some characterisitics I don't like much...like all cats she doesn't point very well. Usually not a problem as the speed difference on a harder tack will get me to the same point in the same length of time as a good monohull...still a little frustrating at times. Another is she doesn't much like to sail below 5 knots. If you want to go 3 knots you need to drop the sails and motor. Sometimes it's important to be able to go slow, especially when checking out new anchorages. If there is enough wind to sail, the boat will jump right up to 5 knots. Keep easing sail until there's not enough to push the boat and she'll stall. I don't know why this is.
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Old 01-24-2007, 03:19 PM   #10
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THANK YOU , JACK TYLER,

The lady was right ,Is that the same with the 45 and 50 ft Gulfstars of the 80 ies as I also like the Hirsch designed boat as now I have to start looking all over again, any suggestions ???

Again thanks Jack ,

Graham
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Old 01-25-2007, 02:06 AM   #11
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Gulfstar did improve over the years (it was also built in this area); in the 70's, you would hear folks say that a broker ship's a new boat to his dealership in a big crate and then, after unloading it, sells the crate as a Gulfstar. Why not visit the BB www.cruisersforum.com and ask Sean Sullivan about his Hersh-designed Gulfstar. He's very big on it and has posted some pics that will give you a feel for what's possible in a cosmetic sense. Insofar as ocean work, I'm reluctant to make a sweeping statement about Gulfstars given that their build quality was varied. I'm not familiar with the Hersh models.

One interesting example of the 'work culture' in those yards: At one point, the 2nd shift at Gulfstar were busily building an 'extra' boat in one of the old molds no longer in production. Cloth, resin, ballast were all being siphoned off other hulls and being quietly taken to the back of the yard where the new hull was being built. One wonders about the build quality of those 'real' hulls during that time. The entire shift was fired when this was discovered, but it gives you a feel for the quality of supervision...and I'll bet all those workers were at the other builders after a short break.

Jack
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:50 PM   #12
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Good post Jack... Funny story about the 2nd shift!
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