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  #1  
Old 03-04-2004
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Pearson 424 vs Celestial 44

I''m shopping for a boat and considering both the Pearson 424 and the Celestial 44, in a late ''70s to mid 80s vintage. I''d really appreciate any information from owners of either vessel. I''ve found 424 info (including the owner''s group site), but would like more "insider info" regarding performance, comfort, upkeep or potential/common problems. I can find very little info on the Celestials, but need similar info.

My plan is to cruise coastal (california) for a few years and then head out on a circumnav, so I''d really like opinions concerning blue water capability. Also, any suggestions regarding outfitting, rigging, etc.

If you can suggest other boats in the same price range that would suit my purposes, I''d love to know about them as well. Thank you
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Old 03-04-2004
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Pearson 424 vs Celestial 44

P:

We''re currently cruising on a 424 in Europe and I''d be glad to send you a summary of our impressions of WHOOSH, a ''79 ketch, which have changed for the better over the last 9 years as we''ve visited most of the Caribbean and now done a crossing. (Send me an email and I''ll forward the Word doc.)

You found the (dormant, it would appear) 424 owners'' website but may not be aware that there''s a group email list you can use to solicit further info. Leave an email with the webmeister and she''ll put it out. The more specific you can make your questions, the more useful will be the information (and likely to be responses). "Tell me about your boat..." leaves folks unmotivated, for the most part.

There''s also a 422 website (ref''d on the 424 site, I believe). The 422 was a later (3rd) reincarnation of this hull form, introduced when center cockpits were thought to be more desireable. Many of the systems and build issues are identical and they can be an add''l source of info.

A cosmetically young, well equipped 424 which we know first-hand that''s currently for sale can be found at www.wings424.com. Because the owners cruised for a few years and documented much of their adventures, you''ll find lots of helpful pics and commentary, thus my referral. Just keep in mind that WINGS is set up for coastal cruising and is not offshore ready.

Finally, I''ve written a series of articles on modifying our 424 for cruising in Europe (plus some Euro-related topics). You might find these helpful given your eventual cruising grounds and also reflecting the issues we felt needed addressing on the 424. You can find them at www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/Whoosh%20Main%20Page.htm thanks to the generous help of John Stevenson, who is also a 424 owner and offer''s add''l insights on his SARAH.

While our opinion of a 424''s capabilities as a long-distance cruising boat have grown over the years, I don''t think it''s a good choice for a circle. I''ve spoken with 2 owners who have circled in 424''s and neither had problems beyond generic systems issues but then, neither chose the more challenging route nor experienced any serious (storm force or greater ) weather. Who knows...maybe my own view on this will continue to change.<g>

Re: the Celestial models, you may have already identified one of their liabilities: they aren''t well known and may not have a sizeable user group from which you can solicit info and avoid reinventing wheels. A brief glance at a listing (I''ve seen these boats but not been aboard one) tells me this is conceptually the same boat but a bit bigger. Altho'' built in Hong Kong, were I looking at one I''d have the same basic questions as those applying to any older Taiwan boat: how was the ballast formed & installed; likely health of the tanks, water and fuel; Far East portions of the rig (e.g. chainplates and how to pull/inspect them), and generally how much equipment was built from scratch there (Hong Kong) vs. imported and installed from U.S. and/or European vendors (steering, rig, sailing hardware, etc).

It would appear that you could expect similar performance from both boats altho'' the Celestial may be more robustly built and has a better proportioned stern, IMO. Independent of the build details, I''d ask myself two fundamental questions: 1) do I really want/need to be handling a 15 ton boat (equipped); is such space/volume and therefore displacement that essential and do I have the budget to support it? (WHOOSH is by comparison 10 tons); 2) is a center cockpit, ketch rigged design my preference, and why? Personally, I just don''t see the rationale for a central cockpit nor do I like what it does to the functionality of the layout below *for a long-distance cruising boat*. Much has been written on this, of course, and perhaps researching that topic a bit might be useful. It''s a BIG decision relative to living with the boat, day in/out. As for the ketch rig, I''ve been pleasantly surprised how much more functional it is for us (two crew, no longer young except of heart) than I expected; while it presents compromises I think they have been decidedly outweighed by the rigs advantages...BUT only after we rigged a mizzen staysail and an inner stay for a solent jib.

Hope that''s helpful; sorry for the long post, folks.

Jack
jack_patricia@yahoo.com

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Old 03-08-2004
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Pearson 424 vs Celestial 44

Hi Jack,

Thanks for your help (again). You and I spoke via email some time ago. As usual, your insight and knowledge is right on the money.

We went and saw the Celestial and a 424 this weekend. Almost all of what you told us seemed to line up with the vessels.

One question for you - do you enjoy the HUGE cockpit in Whoosh? We like the idea of a big cockpit and many have told us, "it''s the most important room" in the "house." The Celestial has tremendous deck space (forward, aft, sides) but a fairly small cockpit (4 people MAX for comfort). Do you find that the large cockpit is a serious asset? Liablity? Am I making too much of the small Celestial cockpit???

Thanks for your help,

Paul
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Old 03-09-2004
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Pearson 424 vs Celestial 44

Paul, hello again...

"Do you find that the large cockpit is a serious asset? Liablity? Am I making too much of the small Celestial cockpit?"

I guess the short version is Yes, No, Yes. Your friend is correct that a cockpit - in temperate climates, at least - is almost always in use and it''s the logical place to host friends in the anchorage, eat your meals, and lounge about...which makes WHOOSH''s large cockpit a bonus. (You haven''t mentioned the three cavernous cockpit lockers, which are an even more appreciated benefit of a 424 cockpit).

The conventional view is that a large cockpit offshore is a liability, altho'' I think it depends on multiple factors. If you really are hoping to circle the boat, then I could understand it being viewed as a significant liability. Hoever, we''ve had the misfortune of filling our cockpit multiple times and I''ve been doubly surprised by how little impact it had on the boat''s buoyancy back aft AND on how quickly it emptied. That''s one reason we decided it was of little significance when deciding on an in-season Atlantic Crossing. (And as implied above, neither of the 424''s that circled suggested this was a problem issue for them).

The biggest (potential, but not guaranteed) advantage of the small Celestial cockpit is that it can work better for bracing, whether shifting about when working the wheel, vane, sheets, etc. or when trying to get comfortable. Offshore that''s the disadvantage of a large cockpit...but there are ways to minimize this (wood cleats on the cockpit sole for bracing, e.g.). OTOH I find ''most'' of our cockpit is being used when we''re both spread out, reading and watchstanding, and with some room left for tweaking the sails or adjusting course. It''s just the nature of the beast that most center cockpits are high(er), further forward (near that wet bow wave and what comes aft), require companionway ladders too steep to be as safe at sea, and make a convenient run to the chart table, the galley or to wake or talk with the offwatch an inconvenient hassle...all of which are offshore issues. On the hook, they make a nice perch...but as you point out, perhaps less so when you''ve got company aboard and it''s overly full.

Let me know if the other info would be helpful for you.

Jack
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Old 03-10-2004
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Pearson 424 vs Celestial 44

Whoosh,
Isn''t the underbody on the 422 different than the underbody on the 424?It''s been a while but I think the 422 has a long deep fin.
And didn''t Pearson also build a 411 or a 412 CC or somthing like that.I thought they built twc CC,s

Dennis
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Pearson 424 vs Celestial 44

pma_foyl,
How about the Formosa 46? The Peterson 44 is a very nice boat.The Hylass 44 or an Irwin 43 Mk.II?
Whats the price range on theCelestial?

Dennis
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Old 03-10-2004
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Pearson 424 vs Celestial 44

Dennis, you''re correct that Pearson used the same mold for 3 different, successive models: I think the first was a 419, then the 424 and last the 422. The 424/424 hull/keel/rudder sked configuration is identical, with the 424 being the sole aft cockpit deck design.

The 419(?) was perhaps the ugliest boat of its size I''ve ever seen. This is a guess but I''ll bet that Bill Shaw, who was an S&S-apprenticed designer before moving to Pearson as their in-house NA, had no hands on the 419 but the economics of production invited Pearson to re-use the 419 hull mold while trying to cash in on the emerging charter market for the 424. The 424 and 422 were both represented as Shaw designs, who by that point had also become involved in running the Pearson business.

Jack
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