Pearson Vanguard 33 reviews?
I am seriously looking at downshifting from my Santana 20 racing boat to a 1966 Pearson Vanguard 33, that my neighbor is offering in becoming a half-owner with him. I love the look and performance of my 2002 Tuna 20, but it is not comfortable at all for my wife and 6-yr old daughter. I bought the Santana 20 before I met my wife (who is not a sailor), and was looking for a fun OD racing experience. With a family now, I'm having hardly any time to race, and I really want sailing to be a fun family experience and lifestyle. My wife wants something with an enclosed head, and something that will make her feel safe when out on the ocean. My daughter wants something that she can get out of the cockpit (without being duck-taped to me) and something that isn't so "tippy".
Our neighbors (who are wonderful people), are half-owners and the other half-owner is in his mid-80's and suffering from health issues. We have sailed on the boat, but it was a light/no air day and we spent most of our time motoring. I realize that I will be giving up quite a lot in performance, and a bigger boat means more maintenance issues (even with being able to split it down the middle). However, having the family out with me means more than performance issues. The boat is in relatively good shape: rebuilt mast, new standing rigging, new bottom paint 2011, Atomic 4 engine still very strong - the bones are all great. Negatives would be the sails need updating, as does the interior, and the general cosmetic condition of the boat. The buy-in to be a half-owner is $5000. I do love the classic look of the boat. We are located in SoCal.
Can anybody comment on the overall ownership experience of the boat? Also, the culture shock of going from a racing machine to a 47-year-old cruising machine? Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much!
Re: Pearson Vanguard 33 reviews?
I have owned a 32' Pearson Vanguard for 15 years or so and can testify to the qualities and drawbacks. I raised a family of four cruising the coast of Maine aboard her and she always kept us safe and comfortable. The kids and the wife at the time, loved her. The boat is great in any conditions, will not point high though and will slow way down when beating too high into a stiff chop. In that case, stop pinching, fall off five points and the boat will sail quite well into a head sea. Initially tender by design (heeling on a CCA era boat equals an increased waterline), they firm up at 15 degress and stay there. One reef point at 15 knots of wind and the helm becomes well balanced.
Many have done long voyages, though they are certainly minimally configured for long distance cruising-the primary drawback being tankage-they only carry forty gallons of water in the original monel tanks. The atomic four is fine as long as you are sensible about fuel safety. Much is made of the risk of gas aboard-but most cruisers have propane tanks aboard for cooking (and sometimes heat) and think nothing of it. The old alcohol stove is a nuisance and best replaced with propane if you will be cooking aboard. A good sniffer and common sense will eliminate the risk of explosion for either propane or the A4. A diesel would be nice and I want one eventually, but the engine is apt to be worth more than the boat so the upgrade must be well deserved.
The interior can be upgraded pretty inexpensively. The hull deck joint will leak if not resealed, but that is not a difficult job. Watch for soft decks-mine need work, but that in no way stops me from using the boat-its just a project somewhere off in the future.
Boat heaves to perfectly, which is great when a kid needs attention or you just want to wait out some weather or even for meal preparation underway. Turns on a dime, but backs up like a drunken elephant. She will handle the big stuff with grace and sails fine in light airs as long as you don't pinch. Lots of room for upgrades like a furler and self tailers-all of which are not necessary, but fun and useful to add over time. If the one you are considering is in good shape, $5K for a bullet proof classic designed by one of the worlds most famous naval architects is a fair price. You can do the upgrades if and when you want over time-its a low cost entry point for a minimal safe cruiser that you can upgrade to whatever level you like or need over time. There is a great users group on yahoo that has 400 members who share all kinds of information about thier ships. Search yahoo groups and request membership-you'll be able to see photo albums of dozens of boats and all of the upgrades they have made over time. The group is very well moderated. Best of luck.
Re: Pearson Vanguard 33 reviews?
Thank Jim, this is a big help. Appreciate you taking the time to respond with all of your observations. She does have the monel tanks and a roller-furling system. Hoping to get back aboard her soon so I can really start looking at her from a buyers standpoint, rather than just as a passenger (as I was before the offer was made).
Some previous posts on other threads - one author in particular who had also owned a PV33 - bashed the boat pretty heavily for poor construction and sailing qualities. Have you had those issues at any time?
Also, can you tell me what kind of tacking angles you might have while going upwind in a 10-15 kt breeze? Do you have a traveler or the original mainsail trim system?
Thanks again - this website (and those that respond) have been fantastic!
Re: Pearson Vanguard 33 reviews?
I have the original, inefficient mainsheet setup. The boat benefits from a real traveller to help control twist and many have installed them. I have not because the aft deck is soft and needs to be repaired first. I don't think that represents shoddy construction, just construction typical of a 1960's era boat. None of the thru deck fittings were likely properly sealed off from the core and some have allowed water intrusion with the subsequent problems that entails.
I've upgraded the portlights with bigger New Found Metal ports as the original opening ports were aluminum and in poor condition. The hull deck joint leaked, but removing the half round rail and reefing out the old filler and pumping full of 5200 pretty much eliminated that problem. A one day job and not a big job as boat jobs go. The deck is thoroughly bolted onto the hull flange with 5/16" bronze bolts-its not going anywhere. I think the biggest headache would be the decks as they almost certainly have some rotten core. It's not likely to be enough to stop you from doing anything with the boat-just something to consider if you want to have it perfect "someday".
I will say this, I've cruised mine extensively along the New England coast-its easy to singlehand and I did it with toddlers aboard. A dodger adds a world of living space and keeps you a lot drier going to windward, though I never found mine to be a submarine by any stretch. When the wind picks up beyond 20, one reef keeps her on her feet and handling very easily. You will fight the helm in 15 mph winds until you put in a reef and then you will love the ride. A traveller would help with the initial weather helm.
As for pointing, I cruise and figure 50 degrees for a tacking angle. Bear in mind I'm a cruiser, don't have a traveller to speak of and I'm flying a 130 on a profurl. Other vanguardians may do much better-I can't say.
I personally know of three young guys who circumnavigated, know of several that crossed the pond multiple times and one was just sold after eleven years cruising in asia after departing Maine. Spoke or corresponded with all of them and they expressed complete confidence in the ship. Two of them are active captains.
For the price, its a lot of boat with a lot of upgrade potential. They have all the usual problems of boats of that era, soft decks, wide tacking angles, large mains and less room below. The hulls are very stout and not prone to blisters. In exchange, they offer security, simplicity, a sweet sheer and an easy entry price to cruising.
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