Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Pearson was one of the first companies to build fiberglass boats and they were in business for a long time under a number of different owners. The original company built traditional boats designed by number of different designers. After 1967 or so all of the Pearsons were designed by Bill Shaw. Bill was amazingly prolific and diverse in the sheer number of designs and design types that he designed. Shaw designed boats that were meat to be seriosu cruisers and other designs that were meant to be serious racers. He had varying levels of success at both. Some of his designs were highly desirable and well thought of and others were real duds. The 390 that I am thinking of was a 39 foot design from the early 1970''s which has always struck me as one of the duds. (I somtimes see the later 1980''s Pearson 39 listed as a 390. The late 1980''s 39'' boat was reasonable coastal cruiser)
The early 1970''s produced some nice and popular coastal cruiser designs at Pearson (Pearson 26, 30 and 35 for example) but this period was not a great period for Pearson''s more serious cruising designs. While they were heavy they were really not all that well engineered. In the 1970''s hardware was in a state of change and so they often have outdated hardware by modern standards. They often had comparatively small ballast amounts (in the 390 you have something like 7500 lbs in a 21000 lb shoal draft boat.). As a result they tended to have small sail plans that restricted light air performance.
Now then, before I get jumped on here, I admit that I have a bias toward boats that have good performance. No two ways about it. I am not making a judgement about whether poor performance is a good or bad thing. You are free to make that judgement for yourself.
What every you decide to do, good luck and good sailing.