Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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The Pearson 35 is a good boat for many types of useage but probably not the right boat for what you want to do. The Pearson 35 is a substanially older design than 1978 that remained in production for a very long production run. Their keel/centerboard configuration allows them to get into thinner water than a fixed keel boat. They were intended as coastal cruisers and CCA race boats, so they have very large cockpits that are great for lounging. Unfortunately, This is a very large volume to drain if you are pooped, and the length of the cockpit really cuts into the interior volume. It does result in pretty large cockpit locker storage which is not the worst thing.
Thier narrow beam is good in terms of a ''roll over'', but it makes them a little tender in a breeze and really reduces further the available space below.
In terms of their layout, it is a simple workable coastal cruising layout but depending on the year they lack even a single seaberth. The galley table is sort of a pain in the neck thing as well, folding down from the bulkhead. As a result you end up a wide expanse of cabin sole with nothing to get purchase on. This problem gets compounded because most have carpet loosely laid over thier FG cabin soles. The galley is set up so you actually walk through the galley to come below stepping on one of the work surfaces.
Which brings us to one of the more controversial aspects of this boat. The Pearson 35 was designed to be a tiller boat but over time, wheel steering had gotten very popular and so later boats were built with wheel steering. The wheel is mounted at the forward end of the straight sided cockpit. This very much a ''I got good news and I have bad news'' proposition. The good news is that the wheel is far enough forward that you can sit on the coaming and actually see up the slot in the same why that you would with a tiller. You are far enough forward that you can steer while sort of under the dodger. The jib and mainsail are within unobstructed reach of your hands although the mainsail is a short walk up the cockpit to the transom. The bad news is that its a real pain in the butt to get in and out of the cockpit when you have a dodger rigged and with the galley just below the companionway, you will want a dodger. It is also a little difficult to see around the dodger when you are motoring and don''t need to be perched outboard.
As to sailing ability, these are pretty good sailing boats. For their, day they point pretty well but by any objective standard, they are quite slow and a bit tender. For the Chesapeake (or Bahamas) they are not very good light air boats. They depend very heavily on very large genoas in the light stuff which means carrying a little larger sail inventory that you might with a differently proportioned rig.
There are a lot of pretty good boats out there for $25,000. The Pearson 35 is an OK boat for a lot of things, but probably not the most ideal for what you are planning.