Pre-Owned Boat Sales

1972 Islander Islander 36
Harbor Springs, MI
  • Boat Name:Shanghai Rooster
  • Year:1972
  • Hull Material:Fiberglass
  • Length:36'
  • Engine/Fuel Type:Inboard, unleaded


The Islander 36 was built from1971 to 1985, making it one of the longest-lived 36-footers ever on the U.S. market. More than 750 of the Alan Gurney-designed racer-cruiser sloops were built, with production spanning almost the entire history of Islander Yachts. Unlike a lot of boats with long production histories, there are relatively few differences between the first and last Islander 36s built. The I36 also boasts a very active and large owners association, an invaluable resource for those buying-or thinking about buying-an older used boat. All in all, the Islander 36 is a well-mannered, fast-sailing boat, at its best in a breeze. With proper, modern sail-handling equipment, it could easily be handled by a couple for shorthanded cruising. With good sails and a smooth bottom, it is also can be a competitive PHRF club racer. Very fast for a comfortable cruising boat. The boat seems to be a good compromise between being light enough to sail well and heavy enough to be safe and solid. It has been described by owners as comfortable, stable, quick, and roomy. Even by todays standards, the hull proportions of the Islander 36 are nearly ideal for a modern racer-cruiser. The beam is moderate and carried well aft, offering fairly good hull volume aft, so that the boat does not squat excessively when cockpit lockers are loaded with cruising gear. Despite the age of the design, the I36 is not dated in appearance. You could even say that the boat is a modern classic. Two-owner, fresh water vessel that has always been winter stored indoors.


When it was first introduced, the Islander 36 seemed conservatively modern in appearance, with a flattish but concave sheer line, a fin keel, and a skeg-mounted rudder. The boat was designed as a racer-cruiser under the then-new International Offshore Rule (IOR) , but you would be hard-pressed to say that the same rule could create both the I36 and a modern IOR design. The Islander 36 was launched during the infancy of the IOR, before boat designers took advantage of the rules loopholes. As a result, its hull shape is undistorted and bears more resemblance to a modern fast cruiser than to a contemporary IOR racer.

While custom boats were the biggest force in racing in 1971, it was still possible to be competitive in local regattas with a production racer-cruiser. That all changed very quickly. Boats like the Islander 36 which were out-designed under the IOR but were still reasonably fast and easy to sail-served as the foundation for the movement that became the Model A of handicap racing: the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF). And still today, I36s often take podium positions in PHRF races, particularly where I36 fleets are most popular.

The Islander 36 is predominantly a West Coast boat, but you'll find them throughout the U.S. Most of the owners use the boat for day sailing, club racing, and coastal cruising.

Designer Comments

The objective: Design a 36-foot yacht that would be a competitive machine but that also could cruise a family comfortably. The result: The Islander 36. 

The 36 is a proven contender and is surprisingly easy to handle under any conditions. You can control her in a 25 knot wind with just one hand on the wheel. The cockpit was designed large enough to enable a race crew to work efficiently and the wide beam not only enhances stability but also adds to the "living room" below, which provides comfortable accommodations for six people in two separate cabins.

Further, her deep keel and optimal ballast-to-displacement ratio provide outstanding stiffness while her full skeg protects the rudder and improves her tacking ability.

The Islander 36 may well be the perfect combination of competitive performance, cruising reliability, and comfort. She not only looks beautiful on the water but is fun to sail and easy to maintain. She is a classic in her own time.

Sailing Performance

The conservative good looks of the Islander 36 speak softly of the enormous power in her high-aspect ratio rig, her exciting speed even in light air and the unusual degree of control that her deep keel, fine underbody and full skeg rudder give the helmsman in any sea condition.

Despite being designed as a racer-cruiser with an IOR Mk I rating of 27.9, the Islander 36 was not a particularly fast or successful IOR boat. However, under the PHRF rating system, a well-sailed Islander 36 is a reasonably competitive boat; many are still active in club racing, with the largest contingent in California, where conditions are a good match for the I36. 

The Islander 36s rig is a simple, un-tapered aluminum spar stepped through the deck. It has two sets of spreaders and double lower shrouds. The shrouds are set well inboard, and genoa tracks are set just outboard of the cabin trunk to take advantage of the tight sheeting angles. 

The Islander 36 is well-balanced under sail, although like many boats of its era with relatively small mainsails, you need a variety of headsails to keep the boat moving her best in all conditions. 

The mainsheet traveler is positioned at the forward end of the companionway hatch. Since the mainsheet is attached almost exactly to the middle of the boom, sheet loads are fairly high, and you may need a winch to trim the main in heavier air.

The I36s cockpit is very deep, which makes it secure but can make it challenging for some to see over the cabin when seated. 


The Islander 36s interior finish is one of its best selling points. It feels really roomy down below with significant natural light. The shortcomings that are typical of boats of the early 1970s have been in navigation stations and galleys.

The marine electronics boom had not begun in 1971. For this reason, nav stations on cruising 36-footers in the early 1970s were rudimentary, when they existed at all. The nav station of the Islander 36 is no exception. It is tucked away to port under the side deck, and the cabin sole in front of it slopes awkwardly upward. The nav table does fold out to create a sizable work area, there is storage below and a storage shelve and light above.

The galley is to starboard when you enter the cabin. There is a 3-burner gimballed stove with oven, drawer storage, outboard cabinet storage with sliding doors, stainless steel sink with faucet, storage below the sink with louvered door, prep counter and deep ice box with large opening and hinged cover. There is also storage on the inside of the bulkhead for plates, cups and paper towel.

Sail Inventory
  • Two spinnakers
  • Blooper
  • Staysail
  • Mainsail
  • 130%, 150% and 170% genoas
  • Roller furling unit,150% Genoa cut for furler
  • Canvas mainsail cover
Irish Boat Shop Disclaimer
The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.
  • Boat name
    • Shanghai Rooster
  • Tanks
    • Fuel Tanks:32 gallon
  • Accomodations
    • Number of Double Berths:2
    • Number of Cabins:2
  • Dimensions
    • LOA:36 ft
    • Beam:11.17 ft
    • LWL:28.25 ft
    • Maximum Draft:6 ft
    • Displacement:13,450 lb
  • Engines
    • Total Power:27 hp
  • Engine 1
    • Engine Brand:Palmer Marine
    • Year Built:1972
    • Engine Model:P60
    • Engine Type:Inboard
    • Engine/Fuel Type:unleaded
    • Drive Type:Direct
    • Engine Power:27 horsepower