Thoughts on Pearson 31 as a first boat? - SailNet Community

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Old 07-06-2006
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Thoughts on Pearson 31 as a first boat?

As the title indicates, I am looking to buy my first boat (novice sailor) and I am considering a 1990 Pearson 31. The boat will be kept and sailed on a freshwater lake and used primarily for daysailing with the occasional overnight. I would like something that is big enough to have room for my wife, daughter and friends to comfortably join me, but small enough to be singlehanded and not give me heartburn when I have to dock. Finally, I'd like something that is well built and will hold its value.

Does the Pearson seem to fit this description?
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Old 07-06-2006
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You could certainly do a lot worse for a boat. If you check under the Pearson forum on the thread Pearson 30, you'll find some great Pearson links from SailorMitch.

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Old 07-06-2006
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The Pearson you mention seems to fit the requirements you've mentioned... I'd say go for it..but get it surveyed..
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Old 07-06-2006
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Seriously considered a P-31 before I bought my P-33, but came upon a 33 I liked and went that route. The 31 fits all your criteria nicely. Pearson made honest, solid boats that are good values. If you want to check with some current or former owners, please email me and I'll get you in touch with them.
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Old 07-07-2006
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I bought a Pearson 30 earlier this year as my first boat - did some research and comparisons. I had many of the same requirements as you - Pearson has a solid design reputation, they are very popular and can be relatively easy to resell (God forbid - unless you are moving up!). I received recommendations from several brokers who had no skin in the game and I decided on the P-30. Definately get it surveyed.

So far- I could not be happier with my decision.
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The 31-2 I am looking at is very nice. However, there is also a 34-2 that is also available. The 31-2 is nicer (better condition, single owner, fresh water, etc.) and $15k less, but I wonder if I will end up wanting the extra room. For those that have lived wiht the 31, does it end up feeling small? Will I really notice the extra 3ft of the 34-2?

Thanks.
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Though 3 feet can add much, such as a more comfortable head, for your stated use, I wouldn't think it's worth 15K. That money would be better put into upgrading the 31 in my opinion. The main thing though is to remember, it's YOUR boat. Get what pleases you, not anyone else.

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Also remember that the 34 will cost a good deal more to moor/dock/haul/store... etc.
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A Pearson 31 seems like a great idea for your described needs. My only question is whether you might want to consider starting out on something smaller. Smaller boats are generally more responsive and can do a better job of teaching you to sail. Also, it is a cheaper way of learning whether you will use it enough to justify the expense. My first boat was a Pearson Ensign, which is 22 feet long. Before that I had sailed Sunfish. After that, I moved up to 36 feet and am now at 41. Not sure I would have been as comfortable with the '36 if I hadn't done the '22 first.
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Seems like, no matter how much room you have, you can almost always want more, so whichever you get, you'll need to make peace with it and limit yourself accordingly. In your comparison, it's not just the length, but the extra beam in the 34. You have to balance the cabin envy against the $15k and other issues. The 31 was designed with a bit more sportiness in mind, and it maneuvers accordingly. Also, you indicated the 34 needed more work up front, so there's more than just $15K to look at. You can always move up later. I'd grab the 31 and upgrade the gear as needed, but you have to sail it and live with it. I have a Bristol 32, and yeah, compared to even the P31 it's tight. I have 6' headroom, but with a 22ft waterline, there are many roomier boats, even below 30 ft. For me, it's trade-off. I'm not ready for something larger, and those long overhangs make for a gorgeous boat. Again, no matter how much room you have, you can always suffer cabin envy, but at the end of a day with your boat, if you're smilin'... you're good. Enjoy.
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