The debate between newer/smaller vs. older/bigger is a common one, and one that we had ourselves. When we were boat shopping about a year and half ago, you could get a late 90s Catalina 28 for the same price as a early 80s Sabre 34. We chose the Sabre 34. That doesn't mean it's the right decision, just the right one for us. There's something to be said for a much newer boat.
If it were me, and the Pearson was in very nice condition, I'd go with the Pearson because of its size, and because I like that era of Pearsons (nothing against Catalinas though). But condition condition condition--most important regardless of which boat you go with.
By the way, we're on the South River too. Do you live in the area? Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
1984 Sabre 34 Mk I