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Loualfr 03-07-2008 10:58 AM

Pearson 303
anyone know much about mid 80's Pearson 303's? There has been one for sale in Jersey for over a year, looks nice on the web and the price seems reasonable tho I have not seen it physically.

SailorMitch 03-07-2008 11:14 AM

There's a write-up on the 303 at SpinSheet Chesapeake Bay Sailing by Jack Hornor, professional surveyor and naval architect. Also, join the Pearson email list here on Sailnet and ask your question. Lots of 303 owners on there. I also can send you an email address for a fellow who maintains an owners list. Will do that later via PM.

They are nice, roomy boats for cruising. Not the speediest, however.

Disclosure -- I have owned 2 Pearsons. Current one is a P-33-2.

Jeff_H 03-07-2008 12:16 PM

For the very small difference in price, I have always like the Pearson 323 far better all around. Neither are particularly good light air boats but the 323 has always struck me as a much better boat at the heavier end of the sailing range.


PhilBohlander 03-07-2008 12:49 PM

The 303 was upgraded each year of production. You should look for an 1986 or 87(only 4 made). The later Yanmar 2GM's had 18HP vs 15HP. The traveler was moved out of the cockpit. Eight opening ports and the quarter berth was moved aft and a small nav. station installed. An other upgrades.

Holland, MI

mbarksdale 03-07-2008 01:32 PM

good luck

Originally Posted by PhilBohlander (Post 278353)
The 303 was upgraded each year of production. You should look for an 1986 or 87(only 4 made).

If only 4 were made what are the chances of finding one for sale anywhere near you.

Slim to none and slim just left town.

Jeff_H 03-07-2008 01:40 PM

I don't know how hard it would be to find one but the advise may be valid if he happens to luck into one. From my own experience, I wanted a Farr 38 and there were only 3 Farr 38's on the US Atlantic Coast. I was able to track down and negotiate a deal on one, and when that one failed survey, made a deal on another almost immediately thereafter. Given that the Peason's were built on the east coast and the OP is on the east coast, he should have better odds than I had tracking down a rare South African built boat in the US.

That said, moving the traveller out of the cockpit is not a good thing on a 30 footer, and I understand that the Yanmar horsepower bump up came from a different way of measuring HP rather than an engine redesign.


PhilBohlander 03-07-2008 03:35 PM

There were only four 1987 303's, a lot of 86's.


SailorMitch 03-08-2008 10:22 PM

The 303 was replaced in 1987 by the P-31-2, which is more performance oriented than the 303, but not as roomy. The 31-2 was built from 87-91 when Pearson went bankrupt; it's a very popular boat.

lbdavis 03-10-2008 11:15 AM


You didn't mention what type of sailing you are planning on doing with your new boat.

I own a 1983 P303. (My Avatar). They are exceptionally roomy thirty footers of reasonable build quality. They won't win you many races, but they'll get you to the next cove quick enough. The 2GM powers her quite adequately for everyday purposes, but could be inadequate if you were counting on those ponies in an emergency. The boat is very stiff undersail but will require reefing in fresh winds to reduce weather helm. A shoal draft (4'4"), encapsulated ballast and skeg hung rudder were all pluses for me.

Keep an eye out for blistering and leaking toerails. The tangs attaching the main bulkhead to the cabintop are known leakers as well and should be rebedded often.

If you're a weekend sailor looking to overnight and sometimes venture a little further along the coast, this a lot of boat for the price.

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