To get the full scoop on the P-36, I suggest joining the Pearson email list here on Sailnet and asking away there. a number of P-36-2 owners are on there and will be glad to answer your questions.
Personally, I think it would be well suited as a coastal cruiser for your needs. The boat is spacious and sails pretty well. It''s not a racer, but it certainly is no dog under sail. truth be told, the 36-2 would be a good boat for me should I hit the lottery and be able to move up. (I have a 1989 P-27 now.) I really like the room and layout of a P-36. Pearsons are well made by production boat standards and have held up very well. It''s really too bad the company went belly up in 1991.
Also, I thought the price was pretty reasonable on this one, at least compared to the many listings here on the east coast. Perhaps you can take advantage of the odd duck Pearson out there and get the price down even more.