I have a pearson 323 and it is keel stepped. Maybe the wooden post you saw was a cosmetic covering to hide the mast in the cabin?
Also, not every 323 has an atomic 4. A volvo MD11C diesel was an option, and mine is still running strong. Although I am considering a new engine just for the hell of it, I am having a hard time convincing myself, since the volvo runs perfectly.
As for the deck, I don''t think you''re correct. Without taking the boat apart I can''t be certain, but the 22 year old boat (1979) only leaks in one place, and that''s because of a sloppy instrument mounting job by the previous owner.
Anyone considering one of these is strongly encouraged to buy one. When I bought the boat, it was the largest boat I could afford, but I am now in a position to buy just about any boat I can convince myself I want (within reasonable limtis)
. However, every time I climb aboard my Pearson, I am hard pressed to find reasons to own anything else.
The interior is one of the roomiest I have ever seen for a boat this size. I have seen a lot of boats, and most boats under 40 feet have less interior room than this boat. How? I have no clue how they did it, but they did it.
Only newish Hunters (the smallest I''ve seen was 35 feet) have more room, and new Hunters are, well, for lack of a better word, Cheezy.