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Horizonlight 02-21-2002 12:57 PM

Pearson 35
I have been hunting for a boat for the last month and finally having my eyes set on a Pearson 35, 1978. The friend that has been helping me may be a little bias for he owns a Pearson 35 himself. My sailing plans are to sail the Chesapeake and later the ICW to the Caribbean. Also, the boat must be large enough for me to live on part time now and fulltime later on. My budget is around 25K. Is my friend giving me the right suggestion? Thank you ahead of time.

Jeff_H 02-22-2002 02:34 AM

Pearson 35
The Pearson 35 is a good boat for many types of useage but probably not the right boat for what you want to do. The Pearson 35 is a substanially older design than 1978 that remained in production for a very long production run. Their keel/centerboard configuration allows them to get into thinner water than a fixed keel boat. They were intended as coastal cruisers and CCA race boats, so they have very large cockpits that are great for lounging. Unfortunately, This is a very large volume to drain if you are pooped, and the length of the cockpit really cuts into the interior volume. It does result in pretty large cockpit locker storage which is not the worst thing.

Thier narrow beam is good in terms of a ''roll over'', but it makes them a little tender in a breeze and really reduces further the available space below.

In terms of their layout, it is a simple workable coastal cruising layout but depending on the year they lack even a single seaberth. The galley table is sort of a pain in the neck thing as well, folding down from the bulkhead. As a result you end up a wide expanse of cabin sole with nothing to get purchase on. This problem gets compounded because most have carpet loosely laid over thier FG cabin soles. The galley is set up so you actually walk through the galley to come below stepping on one of the work surfaces.

Which brings us to one of the more controversial aspects of this boat. The Pearson 35 was designed to be a tiller boat but over time, wheel steering had gotten very popular and so later boats were built with wheel steering. The wheel is mounted at the forward end of the straight sided cockpit. This very much a ''I got good news and I have bad news'' proposition. The good news is that the wheel is far enough forward that you can sit on the coaming and actually see up the slot in the same why that you would with a tiller. You are far enough forward that you can steer while sort of under the dodger. The jib and mainsail are within unobstructed reach of your hands although the mainsail is a short walk up the cockpit to the transom. The bad news is that its a real pain in the butt to get in and out of the cockpit when you have a dodger rigged and with the galley just below the companionway, you will want a dodger. It is also a little difficult to see around the dodger when you are motoring and don''t need to be perched outboard.

As to sailing ability, these are pretty good sailing boats. For their, day they point pretty well but by any objective standard, they are quite slow and a bit tender. For the Chesapeake (or Bahamas) they are not very good light air boats. They depend very heavily on very large genoas in the light stuff which means carrying a little larger sail inventory that you might with a differently proportioned rig.

There are a lot of pretty good boats out there for $25,000. The Pearson 35 is an OK boat for a lot of things, but probably not the most ideal for what you are planning.


Jeff_H 02-22-2002 02:44 AM

Pearson 35
One more point, I think if I were looking for a Pearson in that size range for the kind of thing you are proposing I would look for a Pearson 36 which was a slightly more modern design constructed in the early 1970''s. I would think that the 36 would have a better layout, light air performance and seaworthiness for the kind of thing you are proposing.


VIEXILE 02-22-2002 03:52 AM

Pearson 35
See, the thing is, one must find one''s Karma within one''s personal financial situation. I started out 15 years ago looking at Pearson 35''s. Ended up with a Bristol 35 because, well, it presented itself. You''ll find that the majority of these boats have been retrofitted in one way or another to accommodate most of the problems Jeff points to (other than light air performance, but plodding along in zephyrs has never been a problem once you accept your pace). Sea berths are easy to set up. Adding grab rails on the interior of the liner backing the deck grabrails is easy. Not all tables fold down from the bulkhead. I don''t think I saw one on Bristols or Pearsons when I was looking. Larger cockpit drains and deck boxes built to fill the cockpit volume easily eliminate that particular problem. My steering is set well back toward the aft end of the cockpit, although the boat was originally tiller steered. I''m not fond of the small wheel, and might even prefer the tiller. A friend of mine has a beauty of a Pearson 36 for sale, circa 1976. $45,000.00. Problem is, by my calculations, that''s about $20,000 more than the 35 would cost. Given the number of Pearson Coasters, Wanderers, 35''s, Tartan 34''s, etc. out there, the probability that one might run into a qualifying boat under one''s current financial situation coupled with the motivation of a seller and the primary goal of just doing it is fairly high. I bought the hull when I bought my boat and worked outward from there. Now I''m looking at a Tartan 30 project to steal. MAN is there an overall quality difference between the Tartans and Bristol/Pearson lines of the ''70''s. KW

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