I'm looking for opinions *and* facts comparing these two manufacturers.
Specifically, I have been longing for a mid '80s Pearson 36-2 or 38 for the past few years. I am familiar with the build quality of Pearsons, and have been sailing them through the BHSC for the past two years. My wife and I love the two cabin (sometimes called a tri-cabin) arrangement, and could see ourselves doing some extended cruising in one. Drawbacks that I see with these model Pearsons are the engine access (under the sink - can't reach the stbd. side where the fluid fills, and dipsticks are), and the layout of the electrical (the engine is relatively far from the battery compartment, which is far from the Nav station and breakers). The tankage (25Gal holding, 22Gal fuel, 100Gal water) also seems less than ideal. There are 20 of them (from 1985-1991) currently listed in YW. I am only considering the wing keel and centerboard versions, because I see us sailing along the east coast, motoring the ICW, and sailing in the Bahamas.
Recently I started considering Freedom Yachts, of about the same vintage. The stay-less composite rig has me intrigued. The tankage seems better (40Gal holding, 32Gal fuel, 60+Gal water) I like the engine access, the stainless toe rail, and it seems that the electrical layout makes more sense. I also like the sugar-scoop, step-through, transom (the P38 has this too). What I've learned is that Freedom hulls were built by the Pearson / Tilotson factory. Freedom used a fractional rig on sloops, and they were more likely to have a winged keel. The prices can be lower, but span a much wider range than the asking prices for a Pearson. Lastly, some of the available Freedom Yachts are newer (up to 1998) than Pearson, which went belly up in 1992.
Some folks dislike the fact that the Freedom Yachts have a lot of room down below, thus making them less of a blue-water boat. The crew and I are only likely to do coastal cruising and island hopping, not circumnavigating. It would seem that this concern could apply as much to the Pearson as the Freedom (the Pearson 36 has a huge saloon for a 36 foot boat). Also I understand that the Freedom yachts have less pointing ability due to the size (diameter) of the free-standing mast. I am guessing that in real-life, this would be offset by the downwind performance of the roachy main.
What else shoud I consider?
These forums have always been a great source of insight and opinion, so have at it. All constructive comments would be appreciated!
Thanks in advance,
P.S. TOTAL budget is <$80K (and dropping unless my portfolio improves