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  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-21-2010 07:50 AM
bobsail I own a P40 (1979) and there is a balsa stiffener for the hull, however it is added over the inside layer of the hull material. The hull itself is a fiberglass lay-up. In other words, the balsa core layup is added inside the regular 1/2 inch or more of fiberglass, and is used to add stiffness to the hull. That said, the balsa is far removed from the potential for osmotic blistering impacts. It has always surveyed in perfect condition.
10-29-2009 11:03 AM
Pearson 39-2 - balso coring and other

I am original owner of a 1989 Pearson 39-2 - hull 41. The later versions like mine have a single head with shower, yanmar 35hp under the sink, large nav desk and finer woodwork than the earlier -2's. It does have balsa below the waterline and has shown no problems to date. Nor any blistering (they were delivered with "Blisterguard" when new). The glass work was done by folks who knew what they were doing back then. It is a comfortable boat, easy to sail, motors very well, has plenty of room, is fast, and built well with heavy scantlings. It is versatile enough to single hand, competitively race on wednesday nights, and cruise away for a month or more. All in all it has been a good choice for our family of 6 over the years. She looks nearly as good now as when she was first commissioned. Every time I go to a boat show and look at new 38'-40' boats I come back appreciating what I have even more.
10-17-2009 01:01 PM
P39-2 has balsa cored bottom below waterline

As a happy owner of P39-2 hull#12 manufactured in 1987 I can confirm that my boat has balsa cored bottom below the waterline. I can also confirm that it has NO problems with any blistering but have to admit that the previous owner that bought this boat new had put antiprotect 2000 early in her life and just 2 years ago I redid my bottom applying more interprotect 2000 before anitifouling paint.
I also have to say that last year I survived substantial grounding with bashing against rocky bottom for approx 6 hours in 2 ft wave heeled about 45deg. I thought that after that my boat will be a writeoff but after carefully checking the floor-boards and tabbing on them I have to say that amazingly there was NO damage except to the tip of the lead keel and tip of the rudder. This boat is like a rock and sails like a charm. I am convinced that the cored bottom allowed such grounding to cause no damage. I also know that few other boats that grounded at the same place had never sailed again.
If anybody is interested in more info on P39-2 please give me a holler.

02-09-2009 03:08 PM
flash39 The P 39-2 does have some balsa core below the waterline but not in the areas of thru hulls or other holes (shaft,speed log,etc.). It also has vinylester resin below the waterline to prevent blistering.
01-26-2009 08:40 PM
drlove I have an 1983 Pearson 34 and it is cored below the waterline. All of the thru-hulls are mounted in solid glass areas so that if one were to leak it can not get into the core. The survey did not show any wet areas at all. If the hull is dry, there is not a problem in my opinion.

Mr. Pascoe certainly does not like cored hulls. Of course, most of his disparaging articles are about powerboats and hulls whose outer skin is not thick enough to withstand the pounding those hulls take plus the indiscriminate drilling of thru-hull holes without proper treatment to protect the core.

I would bet my Pearson is better constructed than a SeaRay, but that's just me.
01-26-2009 03:19 PM
NOLAsailing Core is not going to rot in the absence of water. So, if it's in good condition now and simple steps are taken to prevent water intrusion, then you're fine. IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL, though it will make the boat lighter, faster and stiffer.

Coring is a larger issue in decks due to the many fastener holes and the often careless installation of hardware.

My boat is a 1981 hull and the core is as good as the day it was installed.
01-26-2009 09:48 AM
Originally Posted by cruisingmom View Post
... What do you all think - in 1987 was the technology of manufacture good enough with good owner maintenance to generate a worthy boat with balsa below the waterline?
My perspective is...why take the chance given you can find comparable boats with solid hulls...say a CS 40 or Cal 39-II, various Benes, etc...

I know an attentive owner of a mid-80s Hinckley of that age, certainly a boat from a "good enough" builder, but recoring the entire hull came along anyway...sort of like, do you feel lucky today?
01-25-2009 06:39 PM
Well the verdict is in - The Pearson 39-2 IS BALSA CORED BELOW THE WATERLINE

Well, after very careful inspection of the Pearson 39-2 that was sworn to be fiberglass only below the waterline - we found that there is in fact balsa sandwiched between fiberglass below the waterline. This was found after removing the draws under the V-birth and it was clearly evident that along the hull from about 3 feet from the deck joint to the bottom of the hull there is balsa. Most of the rest of the access areas of the boat had carpeting glued to the hull so we could not see the balsa. Only under the V-birth and then by inspecting the sail locker on the port side of the cockpit could we detect the tell tale bulge of the balsa. In the V-birth the squares of Balsa were clearly evident. So - thats the truth of it. Now it will be critical to determine if it is worth pursuing this vessel knowing that Balsa is below the waterline. What do you all think - in 1987 was the technology of manufacture good enough with good owner maintenance to generate a worthy boat with balsa below the waterline?
01-12-2009 06:52 PM
More on the Pearson 39-2 Balsa or No Balsa


I found an article by Jack Hornor in SpinSheet from March 2006. Jack is a Surveyor in Md. he stated:
The Pearson 39ís hull is a solid lay-up of fiberglass and resin, while decks and cabin structures use a composite of fiberglass and balsa wood core. The quality of the fiberglass work is quite good for a production boat; attachments are neat and well-finished.

The present owner also swears that the hull is solid Fiberglass. However I am not completely convinced so I will definitely check out the hull for evidence of core.

Thanks to all. I am sure that at there are plenty of wonderful balsa cored hulls out there but for cruising with my family where we will be in areas that have both plenty of coral heads and few good yards, I think I want good solid fiberglass under my crew. The other issues with the P39-2 is the centerboard and the pseudo-spade rudder but that is another posting.
All the best
01-12-2009 12:19 PM
I'll look back thru a pile of my stuff, I doubt the 39-2 (or many) boats have coring below the waterline. (now watch, 50 people will say "MINE IS")

I've had to recore parts of the deck, but the hull is sound. The boat was built in 1981. I agree with what Paul says about coring. By the way, the J30 was built by Pearson (JBoats designs boats and outsources the builds).
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