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veprjack 07-23-2011 10:42 AM

Pearson Advice - Newbie's First

I know before I hit the "submit" button that I'm asking an almost impossible question as so much of the decision to choose a boat is personal, etc. Having said that, and apologizing up front for the newbieness:D, here goes.

My sailing experience is limited to going out with a few friends and taking a 6-week class (on a Pearson 33, BTW). I will be living aboard in the Boston area, so the cold months will present their own challenge - I mention living aboard, as this will probably impact which size/layout works best. In an ideal world, I could ask for the best boat for living aboard, BUT with handling and blue water capabilities - while not impossible, is asking for quite a bit. I would hate to ignore my desire to sail extensively in a couple of years, but I sure wouldn't want to start to hate my new home because it's cramped or uncomfortable to live on.

I've done enough research to fry my eyeballs and it's still a bit confusing. One of the best things about Pearson is that there are so many different "models" out there - which can actually make it confusing for a newbie. So far, the 10m, 365 and 323 seem to stand out for my personal needs. My budget is on the ridiculous side at the moment, as I would only have $25-$30K (including maintenance/repairs). My "plan":laugher is to spend the first year living aboard while attending to maintenance/repairs, increasing my knowledge of sailing/seamanship, etc. Not counting maintenance, I'd be saving around $650/month over my cost of living expenses right now in a house - yes, I'm pretty sure this is a realistic figure and includes things like boat insurance, electricity at the slip, etc. This "savings" would sure help with any boat costs/upgrades/equipment.

So, I've read HUNDREDS of threads here and elsewhere, and I've actually contacted sellers and asked a lot of questions. I've fantasized that a GREAT price on a boat in Alabama would make up for having to get it up to Boston:laugher and would be a great learning experience for me:rolleyes:

Although most people LOVE their Pearsons with enthusiasm, not all Pearsons are created equal with regard to their own personal strengths. THAT is what I hope to get my head around. Obviously, a spartan racer with SMALLER cabin/setup might not be good for someone living aboard all year long. It's probably all about compromise. To find the "perfect" boat for me to live on/learn on and then sail off to the Azores in 3 years might be fantasy. But, I'd like to get as close as possible to that. OK - maybe Bahamas or Bermuda is more realistic than the Azores!;)

Anyway, if anyone has opinions or advice as I begin my search for the "perfect" Pearson, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks for your patience and advice,

chuck53 07-23-2011 11:17 AM

Pearson makes a decent boat and the 33 was one we considered before deciding the Catalina 34 was a better choice for our needs.
I'm sure others will chime in, but what you are thinking about, an older, mid 30's Pearson that you can find for under $30k, is not going to be a blue water boat. Yes, you can take it to the Bahama's as that is basically a short cruise off the coast of Florida. But Bermuda and the Azores is true blue water cruising and the boat you are considering isn't the boat for that kind of a trip.

deniseO30 07-23-2011 11:52 AM

I was in love with the Pearson (alberg) 35 until I actually got to see one. It's the smallest 35ft boat I've ever seen! I was disappointed. Most older boats seem to have small cockpits also. Catalina seems to be the exception. Narrow beam was also typical of older boats too.

veprjack 07-23-2011 11:58 AM

Thanks Chuck, I think that, in the end - as with most large purchases, I'll have to compromise. The goal is probably to get as close to my fantasy as possible, while allowing reality to take over.

If things go well/as planned, I'll be living aboard by the spring at the latest and will start saving for repairs/upgrades while literally learning the ropes. Then I'll start putting some $ aside to possibly purchase a truly blue water vessel.

Also, I'm not necessarily 100% committed to a Pearson (although...), so I can still be somewhat open to other suggestions.

Thanks again,

chuck53 07-23-2011 12:21 PM

You need to decide your priorities. If blue water sailing is something you really have your heart on, do you buy something affordable now that you can establish your sea legs on and then move up some years down the road or save your money until you can actually afford a blue water boat?
I'm guessing the first option would work best for you.
Get off the Pearson forum and go to either "General Discussion" or the "Boat Review and Purchase" forum and ask questions. What would be a good starter boat that you can live on for $25-30k. To get something in the mid 30 foot range, it's going to have to be fairly old and/or in rough shape.
I'm sure you can find a pretty decent 30' Catalina for that price and that is a very roomy boat for 30'.

veprjack 07-23-2011 12:55 PM

Thanks Chuck - by complete coincidence, I was just looking at a 30' Catalina Standard Rig for $19K - and right now it's moored about 300 yards from the slip I'd be at - talk about coincidence.

Yes - when I first posted, it was with the idea that I would DEFINITELY be buying a Pearson; but I should probably be more open to suggestions. Hey, I'd love to buy a 36' blue water boat right now - but would that be a good choice for me to learn on? And, as you pointed out, a 30 something blue water boat in my price range would be in tough shape!

Thanks again,

chuck53 07-23-2011 01:10 PM

Our first boat was a bare bones, 30' Catalina, we bought back in 1994 for $11,500. It was a great boat for our family and we sold it 4 years later for $11k. We then had a couple of power boats and now have returned to sailing with a much nicer, better equipped 34' Catalina.
That 30 could be just the starter boat you are looking for. If you think it is the right one for you, come back on the forum and you will get a lot of advice to help you navigate the whole purchasing process. Also, spend time on the Catalina 30 website. I can't tell you how helpful the C-34 website was during our search for a boat in answering the many questions I had about the boat.

veprjack 07-23-2011 01:22 PM

Thanks Chuck - I'll check out the forums you mentioned. Here's that listing on the Catalina 30' 1980 Catalina Standard Rig sailboat for sale in Massachusetts if you could take a quick look. Also, here's a couple of Pearsons that may be "project boats" for $12K 1972 Pearson P30 sailboat for sale in Massachusetts and $9K 1972 pearson 30 sailboat for sale in New Hampshire Both of these are less than an hour from my house!

chuck53 07-23-2011 01:33 PM

I like that C-30. Looks to be in good shape.
The first Pearson listed has an Atomic 4 gas engine. While the Atomic 4 basically had a good reputation, it is a gas engine and most sailors shy away from gas.
The second Pearson had no details so hard to make any judgements.

veprjack 07-23-2011 01:40 PM

Thanks Chuck - pretty much my opinion too. When I think about how so many boats I've looked at are scattered all over the world, it's Funny how that C-30 is only yards away from the slip I plan to rent... I'm not sure it's even still available but - Maybe it was meant to be - we'll see.

Now I'll jump off here and get on those other forums!

Thanks for your help - we'll keep meeting, I'm sure - and I'll let you know what I end up with!

Take care,

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