The Irwin 52 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Irwin 52, a centre-cockpit staysail ketch, was designed by Ted Irwin and built in the USA by Irwin Yachts.

An Irwin 52 at anchor in Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda in the BVIsAn Irwin 52

Published Specification for the Irwin 52

Underwater Profile: Fin keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 52'0" (15.9m)

Waterline Length: 44'0" (13.4m)

Beam: 15'4" (4.7m)

Draft: 7'0" (2.1m)

Rig Type: Staysail Ketch

Displacement: 55,000lb (24,948kg)

Designer: Ted Irwin

Builder:  Irwin Yachts (USA)

Year First Built: 1976

Year Last Built: 1985

Number Built: 250

Published Design Ratios for the Irwin 52

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 15.2

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 29.3

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 288

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 48.3

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.6

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Irwin 52

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 15.2 suggests that the Irwin 52 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 29.3 means that a sailboat like the Irwin 52 (which doesn't have a stiffness-enhancing bulb keel), is likely to benefit from being reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 288, tells us the Irwin 52 is clearly a heavy displacement cruising boat. You can load her down with all your cruising gear and equipment and it will hardly affect her waterline. Not an ideal choice for coastal sailing, but she'll come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 48.3 suggests that crew comfort of an Irwin 52 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a heavy bluewater cruising boat. Pitching and rolling will be well damped - your cup of coffee on the salon table stands a reasonable chance of staying there in most conditions.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.6 tells us that an Irwin 52 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

Other sailboats in the Irwin range include:


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