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ra3don 02-13-2012 10:19 PM

Looking at a 1974 Pearson 30'
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Hello All! I'm looking to purchase a 1974 Pearson 30'. This will be my first sailboat. I've check the boat out the best I can, the only issue is that the original atomic 4 has been removed from the boat, the previous owner had an outboard fitted to the boat, but it is not included. I plan on replacing it with an outboard for the time being. I've read some about the outboards coming out of the water on these. I'm hoping it won't be too much problem since it is on a lake.

The guy who owns the boat now bought the boat from a guy who had to leave town -- so all I know about the boat is that the previous owner was a liveaboard (and a smoker).

I've attached pictures of the boat, I'm looking to get some feedback. The boat needs some cosmetic work (nothing major) and a motor. Are there any particular problems I should be looking out for on this boat? As far as I know it has been a freshwater boat for the last 5+ years.

RichH 02-13-2012 11:13 PM

These are quite well built boats; Pearson brothers really knew their business.

1. Rotted compression post base - There is a wooden wedge driven under the compression post with the bottom of the post and wedge in the bilge .... allows rot and movement of the compression post AND shifting of the bulkhead that supports the mast base.
If there is rot, the head door hardware wont line up and the door may not close or may bind when closing. An easy fix for a DIYer but very hard to realign the bulkhead and head door if the 'shifting' has already occurred.

2. leakey stancheon bases. Pearson, due to the relative thin-ness of the deck top layer, used a rubber gasket to seal the stancheons to the deck. These ALWAYS leak and water will migrate into the core. Look for radial or long 'spider cracks' emanating from the stancheon bases .... a royal PITA to dig out the rotted deck core, fill with epoxy 'mush', etc. If the rot has spread more than a few inches from the stancheon bases .... can be a 'problem' in repairing

3. Loose rudder shaft bearings .... very common. Replacement bearings available from D&R Marine (Marblehead MA). Dig a pit under the rudder, drop/remove the rudder and replace bearings, etc. Do this every 3-5 years.

4. These boats have 'floppy' hulls that easily distort/deform when placed on jackstands. Simple rule: NO blocking under the keel at the aft end .... draw an imaginary line from where the aft end of the keel joins the hull and translate this line all the way to bottom of the keel ...... NOTHING goes under the keel aft of this 'line'. You'll also need a vee poppit on the bow and one between the rudder and the propeller. Dont do this and you will get sometimes SEVERE hull deformation when the boat is blocked on the hard.

P30s are GREAT boats and if set up well will have very little helm imbalance ... a pleasure to sail, and with only finger tip pressure on the tiller.

ra3don 02-13-2012 11:23 PM

Thanks for the reply, RichH. I will take a close look at these things when I revisit the boat.

Do you think the outboard engine is a concern on this boat since it was designed for the inboard? The owner is asking $3,600 so it seems this has been taken into consideration, or perhaps bigger problems lurk.

RichH 02-13-2012 11:45 PM

The A4 weighs in at about 450 lb. and a lightweight OB on the stern will cause the bow to be a little deeper in the water and with the stern raised a bit. You may need to rake the mast a bit to fully compensate. Take a good look of how the boat sits in the water with respect to its OEM waterline, especially with a fully loaded bow water tank.

For a relatively inexpensive A4, go to Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Engine Rebuilding and Parts for a rebuilt/reconditioned A4. Whatever you do dont 'throw away' that fuel tank ... its probably monel and quite valuable even at 'scrap' prices. Ditto, if you have all the solid copper 'exhaust piping' and 'steam riser pipe'. The 'steam riser pipe', etc. is easily rebuilt by a knowledgeable "red-metals" welder.

BTW... forgot to mention - osmotic blisters: Pearsons of this era will have mostly 'cosmetic' osmotic blister and they will rarely if ever penetrate into the matting layer or deeper into the structural layers beneath, only the gelcoat. Unless you see blisters about the size of 25 piece I wouldnt be concerned with 'blisters' on a P30, especially on a $3.5K boat.
If you do find blisters and do elect to remedy, most DIY blister repair will be satisfactory and wont 'reoccur' if you dig out the blister, fill/fair, and then apply barrier coat.

PorFin 02-13-2012 11:50 PM


Are you planning on having a survey done on the boat as a condition for the sale?

ra3don 02-13-2012 11:53 PM

I wasn't planning on it. For the price of the boat ($3,600) plus being on a lake in alabama I wasn't sure I would be able to find a good surveyor. I was going to do the best I could myself with the help of all the great folks at :)

RichH 02-14-2012 12:04 AM

Get a copy of: "Inspecting the Ageing Sailboat" by Don Casey.

This will help avoid buying a 'turkey' if youre not going to employ a surveyor. You'll need to haul the boat (at your expense) to do this.

PorFin 02-14-2012 12:12 AM

Fair enough -- it's a tough call on a boat at that price.

You didn't ask, but are you are comfortable with the condition of the rigging, electrical and plumbing systems, and sails? Having to repair or replace any or all of these things in your first season would be a real downer...

ra3don 02-14-2012 12:38 AM

PorFin, I haven't checked them out but when I talked to the owner on the phone, he wasn't sure of the condition of the batteries but everything else should be in good condition. Anything in particular I should be looking at? The owner also said the sails should be in good shape. I will have to verify this when I meet him in person.

PorFin 02-14-2012 12:59 AM

Nothing particular per se, but Rich's advice on Don Casey's book is sound.

Since this is your first sailboat, does that also mean you are relatively new to sailing? If so, see if you can bribe someone -- a couple of beers will usually do the trick -- who knows sailboats to go over the boat with you.

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