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post #9 of Old 12-18-2012
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Re: Just picked up my 1967 Pearson Wanderer

My family came very close to buying one of the first Wanderers from the factory. The factory had a few mould and gelcoat problems on these early boats and so was offering the one that we were considering at a pretty big discount. We drove up to Pearson to look at the boat and had a tour of the plant. At the time there were probably a half dozen Wanderers and Coasters in various stages of production within the factory.

When its suggested that perhaps Peason was willing to customize these boats and so they vary widely, that does not match my recollection. As I recall there were two standard layouts on these boats, which were more or less essentially the same as the layout on the Vanguard, which is what we ended up buying. I vaguely recall that there may have been one update to the interior before the boats left production.

Which is not to say these boats were strictly standard....Pearson sold their boats much the same way that cars were sold in those days. Basically almost everything was optional. It was kinda like:
You want a table, great- optional...
You want winches, What size? any size- Optional...
You wanted seatback cushions, good idea- optional...
and so on down to a pretty course or fine level.

The point being that you saw some of these boats bring sold pretty naked, while others were loaded to the hilt. It was not as bad a system as it sounds since individual owners had specific goals and budgets and this let them fine tune to their needs.

But also these boats are pretty long in the tooth. The last one I was on (which may have been a Coaster now that I think of it) had almost a new interior because the plywood bulkheads rotted out behind the freshly painted formica that was on the boat when that person bought her. He did a beautiful job restoring and reconfiguring the interior to suit his needs and if you saw that boat, you would think it was another factory layout, but it was strictly customized with berth lengths increased and a more workable galley layout. And more room in the engine compartment for a larger alternator and the kind of gear that goes with extra battery boxes.

I know that people hate when I say this these days, but back then Pearsons and Columbias were the Hunters of their day. They were value oriented production boats. Frankly they were not all that heavily or well constructed.

But the one thing I will say is that the Coasters and Wanderers of their day, being designed to race under the MORC racing rule, were pretty wholesome designs for thier day, and frankly nicer boats to sail than similar sized designs of that same era such as the Alberg 30.


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