While Pearson 26s are solid little creatures, how can anyone possibly comment on its suitability for your first boat with an inkling of where it will be sailed, how you intend to use it and how many $$$ you are looking at.
I interpreted his question to be about a particular model, not asking about a particular boat. The clue is he did not give a price or condition or location. We told him about the characteristics of that model, not a particular boat, and referred him to other resources.
A first boat should be simple, solid, practical, inspiring and encouraging. There is a reason why Pearson was one of the most successful builders in its time. There is also a reason why many of the good sailors on this listserv started (and sometimes stay) with Pearsons - they cause you to want to continue sailing, they encourage you to take on challenging conditions. How does a new sailor feel when the forecast is 20 knots? If you own a Pearson, you are likely to be excited and enthusiastic, some other boat, you might rather stay ashore.
Original sails means new sails, that's about $3,500.
There is absolutely no reason to buy new sails for a 35 year old boat, unless you plan to race it. Look on eBay or Craigslist just once. There is a very active market in quality, used sailing goods. You can buy a perfectly functional mainsail, jib or spinnaker for $200 or less. Why would anyone buy new sails for an older boat?
How do I know? Within the last year and a half, I bought 3 spinnakers for less than $600 total, a good used main for $225, and three jibs for under $300. So for the price of one new sail, I have a complete inventory. While they are not perfect, they are perfectly functional and allow me to sail my boat well in almost all conditions. It is not the end of the world if one rips - I'll either tape it up, or discard and pick up another one for $200. I also bought a perfectly functional spinnaker pole for $200, a whisker pole for $100 and a CQR anchor for $75.
What else? It has an engine, but does it run, is it long shaft version.
Yea, Pearson 26s are solid little creatures. I just watched one being hacked up for the dump.
So, what do you conclude from that experience? You own a Pearson yourself. Did you make a mistake?