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Load Bearing Member
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Discussion Starter #1
Recent events have conspired to put me in the boat market.

This was not something I wanted. :laugher

The top dawg is currently Pearson 34-1; there are several in my area that are worth looking at.

The anticipated use is 80% day sailing out of Portsmouth, NH - 10% over nighting (away or at our mooring) - 10% cruising (week long trips to Casco Bay and such). It will, of course, be a party barge most summer nights after work.

Pearson 34 and Sabre 34 represent our ideal layout for cockpit and cabin.

First Q: Does the P34-1 (1983-86) have a cored hull? I know the 34-2 does; I believe the 34-1 does not.

If anyone with info on these boats could share with me that would be great.

Things to look for during the inspection...

Reasons to pick a different boat...

I know that the stock 16hp engine is too small for the Piscataqua River (second fastest current in the US) I'm only looking at P34s with the 23hp Yanmar or better. I've also learned to watch the tides very carefully.

Thanks in advance,

Ken (watch the signature below for upcoming changes!)
 

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Load Bearing Member
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Discussion Starter #2
Isn't it wonderful how pressing the 'Post Reply' button helps you remember things you wanted to say?

What's the largest P34 owners forum? I should join and start bothering them.
 

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Old enough to know better
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I don't know about the cored hull, but I would have a hard time talking anyone out of a Pearson. Even with a cored hull, Pearson does a good job with laminates so I would not worry unless the hull looked like it took a hit. Would turn up in a survey too. To me they are a great balance of quality and affordability and sounds great for your intended use. Seems to be in the same PHRF range of the Saber. (well if you are thinking MK I 43) I think there is likely less hidden behind very nice furniture than a Saber. In a similar price point I would think the Pearson would likely be in better shape. I really like the Sabers, but have heard some nightmare stories of bulkhead replacement and what not. Not that they go bad anymore than others, just that they are so well put together they are hard to get apart to fix. The Pearson 34 looks really nice, layout looks usable and the numbers look like it would be a nice sailor.
 

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Senior Member
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Last time we were shopping we did look at some Pearsons, I seem to remember that there was a fair bit of 'arborite/formica' fake wood laminate used on bulkheads and panels.. it was kind of off-putting.

Another interesting thing I recall is the binnacle being at the front of the cockpit.. Not sure if that's true of all models or not, (I know it's not in the 36-2). While it seems to block the companionway access somewhat, it does get the helmsman out of the stern and behind the protection of the dodger!

Sorry, I don't recall the exact years/model we looked at.
 

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Load Bearing Member
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Discussion Starter #5
I seem to remember that there was a fair bit of 'arborite/formica' fake wood laminate used on bulkheads and panels.. it was kind of off-putting...

...the binnacle being at the front of the cockpit..
The P33 was thrown out of the competition for the formica panels.

The P30 and one other (I forget) lost out due to the binnacle issue. My brother's Bristol is the same way. It is where it belongs on the P34.

The P34 has the most inviting cockpit of everything we've looked at, and where do we spend the most time?
 

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Senior Member
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The P33 was thrown out of the competition for the formica panels.

The P30 and one other (I forget) lost out due to the binnacle issue. My brother's Bristol is the same way. It is where it belongs on the P34.

The P34 has the most inviting cockpit of everything we've looked at, and where do we spend the most time?
Well then it seems we are in accord!.. and so my attempts to dissuade you have failed dismally ;)
 

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I have a Pearson 33 #320 and love her. Definitely would have a hard time telling someone to not go with it if everything else is right.
 

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Old enough to know better
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Last time we were shopping we did look at some Pearsons, I seem to remember that there was a fair bit of 'arborite/formica' fake wood laminate used on bulkheads and panels.. it was kind of off-putting.

Another interesting thing I recall is the binnacle being at the front of the cockpit.. Not sure if that's true of all models or not, (I know it's not in the 36-2). While it seems to block the companionway access somewhat, it does get the helmsman out of the stern and behind the protection of the dodger!

Sorry, I don't recall the exact years/model we looked at.
Yea, they seemed to switch away in the very late 70's or early 80's and went with more teak veneer. Not that they are up to the standards of say a Saber, they became much nicer. I looked at a 10M that was very rough, an it had a bunch of different colors of mica. The head had white with yellow doors and the bulkheads were wood tone. And about as convincing a wood grain as a 1970's station wagon. But otherwise I liked the boat as it had a new motor and had a real reputation of good performance. The newer ones look really nice.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Pearson 34 of that vintage did not have a cored hull. The Saber is a nicer boat, but the P34 is very well built.

Watch for moisture in the hull near the lifeline gates. Also check that the bladder holding tank has been replaced, or updated.

Sent from my VS930 4G using Forum Fiend v1.1.3.
 
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All of the Pearsons I have ever seen looked like good boats. The only model I have ever been on a lot was Pearson 35, a seventies model.

And, 34 is a great length. I have a 42 footer now, and I often think I would be better off if I had stopped around 34-36 feet.
 

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I do not thing Pearson built any boats with a cored hull. We have sailed a 1981 Pearson 367 for 11+ years so I am not the one to talk you off the ledge

Pearsons are well built, kind of no frills boats. Not the fastest boat in the fleet but stable, fun , and forgiving boats. Beginning in the early 80's (83-85) Pearson began to revamp their line to include nicer interiors with more room and lighter faster boats.

Good luck in your search
Garner
Sea Dragon 1981 Pearson 367
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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The P 34-2 was definitely a cored hull boat. The core extended below the water line.

Sent from my VS930 4G using Forum Fiend v1.1.3.
 

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Pearson Owner Here...So Biased

When I was looking for my boat, I looked at a a Sabre 34-1, Pearson 34-1, Pearson 33, Bristol 33. Ended up not buying any of those and bought a Pearson 10M, and absolutely love it. However, it has the Helm/Binnacle fwd in the cockpit, which I think you don't want. I was a little naive when I bought it, it was a smokin' deal and in outstanding shape. As far as performance, it will spank any of the boats above, yet is roomy, and fairly decent for creature comforts. But, the cockpit can be a little tight with the helm forward and the traveler on the bridgedeck. Even with the cockpit desing, I'd by it again over the above.

If I didn't get the 10M, the 34-1 was next on the list. A little less performance, but still a performance oriented cruising boat. The thing that I disliked about some of the 34-1's is that some of them were way under powered, as you mentioned. In a internal letter document, Bill Shaw stated that the 16 hp was adequate for hull shape/weight. For most conditions he was right, but if you have to power through heavy chop/current, maybe not.

I think a 34-1 is a fine, well-built, go anywhere boat. Maybe not as quite as nice as Sabre 34-1 interior wise, but the Sabre is a little more cramped, especially fwd. The P34 will be a lot less costly.

Summary: I'd wouldn't hesitate buying a P34-1 if it is good shape. The 34-1 is solid core hull, the P34-2 (1990's) had a cored hull as does the Pearson 37.
 

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I know that the stock 16hp engine is too small for the Piscataqua River (second fastest current in the US) I'm only looking at P34s with the 23hp Yanmar or better. I've also learned to watch the tides very carefully.
I'm surprised anything can make headway on the Piscataqua. I had a couple spots where I used to sit and watch big whirlpools form up where it gets narrow in town, across the river from Spinney creek. Amazing stuff, it took me a while to figure out that the tidal lag between the Atlantic and the Great Bay had something to do with it. They are out of sync by several hours. When the ocean is at ebb instead of the river that bay is still dumping like mad. It takes incoming tide to make the bay go slack. If you observe the bay instead of (or as well as) the river you always know when the river is wild.

By the way the Pearson I think is the better looking boat if nothing else.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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I think you owe it to yourself to look at a Tartan 34' C.
Pearson does have a solid reputation but Sabre & Tartan were just a notch or two classier at that time.
 

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I owned a P32 for several years and loved its sturdy construction and the way it sailed. The P34-1 adds extra inches in all the right places for comfort, and is faster besides. Assuming the boat is in good shape, you can't go wrong. And that would be true for just about all of Bill Shaw's boats.
No personal experience here, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that Pearson farmed out the rudders on the 34-1's and that some of them had delamination issues. Take a good look when the boat is hauled out.
 

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pearsons rule, looks,build,seaworthy....my p 32 is a clone to sabre 32,i have sailed neck and neck with a sabre 32 and neither vessel could pull away
 

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.... I would have a hard time talking anyone out of a Pearson. Even with a cored hull, Pearson does a good job with laminates so I would not worry unless the hull looked like it took a hit. Would turn up in a survey too. To me they are a great balance of quality and affordability and sounds great for your intended use.
I'm not an expert on Pearsons, but I happen to own one. I know through all the research that I did, I found them to be over built and some of the best blue water boats for the money.

If you get a good deal and the survey shows well, why not buy it? Why would you want to be talked out of it?

Quickest way to be talked out of a boat is looking at a bad survey.
 

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I owned a Pearson 323 and absolutely loved it. I found it to be well built, solid, and a joy to sail. I would not hesitate to own another Pearson.
 
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