Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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I do not have a huge amount of time on a Pearson 35 per se, but I have sailed on a number of keel/centerboarders of that era. Personally I like the concept of keel/centerboarders, they offer a nice compromise between reasonably good performance (for that era) and shallow draft. I have always figured when I get to be an even older fart I would probably buy a small Keel/Cb'er and explore the quiet shallower corners of the Chesapeake that I could not see from my fin keelers. Enough waxing poetic....
The Pearson 35 does not have as much overall stability as some of the better keel centerboard designs of that era, such as the Tartan 34 or Morgan 34's, but they do sail well in most mid-wind speed range conditions. They are less forgiving in heavier air.
They are generally sailed with large overlapping headsails (Genoa), and the condition and adjustment of the genoa makes a huge difference in how well the boat will sail in light to moderate conditions. The mainsails on these boats are typically reefed pretty early because like many boats of that era, they can develop some pretty severe weather helm at the upper end of the wind range. This can be partially offset by partially raising the centerboard a little which also may reduce heeling slightly at the price of greater leeway.
Unlike many short waterline boats of that era, my recollection is that these boats do not like to be sailed with quite as large heel angles, performing better at heel angles somewhere greater than modern boats but flatter than is ideal for most 1960's era designs.
Downwind, you can raise the board to reduce wetted surface and so improve performance and in some conditions reduce rolling. If I remember correctly, you will need to experiment with this since partially raising the board may increase directional stability at the price of being harder to steer through waves.
One thing that I found difficult was the goofy little wheel at the foward end of the cockpit set up on these boats. It puts the helmsman in a position where it is very hard to see the teletales and figure out what is happening. This is really annoying on a boat that depends so heavily on its headsail trim and angle of attack. Although rare, the tiller version of these boats are the way to go in all ways.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay