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post #5 of Old 11-21-2006
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Pearson 323


I recommend the P-323 for off-shore work. I bought a new one while living in Puerto Rico in the early 80's; she was hill number 201. My wife and I learned to sail aboard her and enjoyed safe, confident and comfortable cruising throughout the Caribbean from PR to St. Maarten and back. She is very stiff and strong assuming good repair and she is comfortable in a seaway. I traded her for a Bristol 40 in 1989 and in the six years I lived aboard that boat in retirement sailing from Maine to the Bahamas, I never felt as comfortable as aboard the 323. I recently bought hull number 51 here in Eastern North Carolina which I have just finished restoring and I am amazed at how well she has held up through the years. This boat has the Atomic four which I would not chose over the Volvo MD 11 C diesel for ocean passages but it will serve me well for coastal cruising.

I would also recommend the bow tank for extra water capacity and a 135% genoa for off-shore vs a 150 genoa. The best upgrade I made on the boat was a three blade Maxprop; it gave the boat an addirional knot of speed under sail and no loss of performance vs. my fixed three blade prop which was originally installed. The Volve with either three blade prop pushed it thorough head seas when necessary with power to spare and would drive her above hull speed on flat water easily.

The boat is very well built and in many cases overbuilt relative to materials and workmanship; she is a solid design with solid construction to which I can attest having maintained and restored two 323's.

In my six years of cruising, I saw several 323's, 365's and 424's with happy owners from Maine to the Bahamas and while the 323 seldom out performed the 424's, it was never overtaken by a 365 under sail.

The one negative of the boat is her behavior at anchor where she sails back and forth significantly; I used a 35 pound CQR as a working anchor and wouldn't recommend anything less given her activoty at anchor.

As you know, she likes a bit of breeze to do her best but she was a delight to sail and did well for me in the Caribbean, the Chesapeake and Long Island/Rhode Island sounds.

If you would like to discuss the boat's suitability for open water further, I can be reached at or 252 975 4694.

I'd be happy to further discuss the boat with you,

Jim Ellis (Hull No. 51)
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