Join Date: Nov 2005
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I''ll give a different perspective to late ''80''s Pearson''s from that of Jeff, but first my biases. I have owned since new a 1989 Pearson 27. I currently am the Vice Commodore of the Pearson Sailing Association on the Chesapeake Bay. I also wrote a history of Pearson Yachts for Good Old Boat magazine a couple of years ago. While I have never met him in the flesh, I talk to Bill Shaw, the designer of the boat you''re looking at, on pretty regular basis for input on other articles I write.
Saying that Pearson build quality fell off in the late ''80''s is no doubt true. But it''s also true of just about every other boat manufacturer at that time. I can remember sitting on a Sabre at the Annapolis show the same year I bought my Pearson discussing the "cheapened" construction of Sabres with another fellow. Just an observation. Late ''80''s Pearsons are still fine boats with few inherent problems.
Pearson redesigned its entire line in the mid-80''s, going with a rather distinctive cabin top and sheerline look for all its boats. That''s also when Pearson started using winged keels extensively. It offered the 36, a 37, and towards the very end a 38 that no doubt all shared a common hull design. Certainly the dimensions for all of them are either the same or very close. I do know the 38 is the 36 with a scoop stern.
That 36 is one fine boat and would be a great choice for what you want to do. If you''d like, I can put you in contact with some other 36 owners so that you can talk to them directly about the good and bad points of that boat. It''s roomy for a 36 for one thing. The secretary/treasurer of our organization lives on one.
The 37 Jeff brought up is an interesting boat, very different from the other models in the line. It was the direct result of owner and dealer input for what they wanted in an all out luxury cruiser. The dealers called it "The Condo Boat." It made quite a stir at the Annapolis show the year it came out, setting the standard for a luxury production cruiser at the time.
In short, Pearson made a very honest boat right to the end. They are sound, solid and generally sail well. While not a Morris Yacht in quality, they definitely are several cuts above the Benehuntalinas that seem to captivate so many. It''s a shame Pearson went out of business because it''s very hard to find a boat manufacturer today that fills that niche. The under 35 foot market is dominated by the Big Three, and most anything 35 feet and over comparable to a Pearson costs a small fortune. You have to look at European boats for that mid-price range these days,and that''s a whole different discussion.