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post #1 of 6 Old 07-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Singlehanding Pearson 35 Centerboard

What do people think of the Pearson 35 Centerboard (1970) as a singlehanded boat? This would be on the Chesapeake Bay. Would you suggest any modifications?
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-27-2009
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The Pearson 35's were an older CCA era design. They sail pretty will for a boat of that era, but would be a mixed bag for cruising the Chesapeake Bay. Their shallow draft with the board up would allow them to get into many of the shallower anchorages, creeks and rivers. They were reasonably well constructed. They are typically pretty cheap to buy. And that is the good news.

On the other hand, they are not very good light air boats, and not very good in a chop, two very common conditions on the Bay. They do not have much ventilation. They have the interior space of a typical 30 or so footer from a later era.

In terms of being a good single-hander, with a few modifications such as running halyards and reef lines back to the cockpit, almost any 35 foot boat can be single-handed. But when you talk about how suitable a boat is to single-handing, ease of handling becomes a lot more critrical. When I think of ideal single-handers, in an ideal worldI would suggest that you would not want a rig that depends heavily on large overlapping headsails as these are hard to tack and require a sail change to safely deal with heavy conditions. What ends up happening is that single-handers try to get by with smaller headsails made with heavier fabric that can be roller-furlered on these boats and so give up light air performance. With a boat like the Pearson 35 that has such poor light air performance on the Chesapeake Bay, you are either carrying a light air genoa, which is hard to tack and requires making sail changes or else giving up a lot of sailing days.

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post #3 of 6 Old 07-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks Jeff. Extremely helpful. I've been enamoured with the P-35/CB primarily because of the shoal draft, but I'm certainly not settled on it. Are there any shoal draft, 30-35 ft, light-air, family coastal cruisers, well-built, wheel-convertable, single-hand-able, pretty, reasonably priced, used sailboats that you recommend? Tall order?
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-27-2009
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I won't comment on the well-built part, I have no personal experience. I have met a number of people who single hand Catalina 38 and love them. They have done the west coast to Hawaii races numerous times. Lots of people cruise them with family too. They are reasonably priced and I am pretty sure they made a shoal draft keel version. There is an active C38 bulletin board where a wealth of information on them is shared.

michael

oops, I just got the 30-35 foot part. Anyhow C38 is a pretty popular boat

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post #5 of 6 Old 07-28-2009 Thread Starter
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I've been looking for a min draft (either fixed keel or swing/centerboard) of 4'. Seems like a magic number for gunkholing around Chesapeake rivers and inlets ... but I'd like to hear others opinions.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-28-2009
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Regardless of the boat, singlehanding depends a bit on your experience and a lot on how the gear is set up. By running halyards and reefing lines aft to clutches and then a winch on the cabintop it's a lot easier. For the jib rig a downhaul by leading a light line through a small block at the tack and thread it through the hanks to the head. Sheeted in drop and pull down with the downhaul and it should fall inside of the lifelines. If you have furling it's easier. Lazyjacks to contain the main are helpful too. If the boat is larger the sails are heavier but the winches are bigger as well. Main difference on a larger boat is to think ahead.
Brian
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