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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've been looking at lot of different boats, thinking about a purchase in the ~2 year range. Right now we're sailing a Freedom 32 club boat, which is about right for our family of 3 (two adults, one child), with only one real sailor among us (so far). While I appreciate the easy to sail and very forgiving nature of the boat, which make it easy for me to effectively single-handle, I'm not sure I'd want to run right out and get one of these for myself. I think in the longer term, we'd like something a little bit larger, the better to accommodate friends & family (ie, one more couple), and which would be capable of crossing to the Bahamas, or, when it opens again, across the straits of Florida. In the meantime, coastal cruising in the Chesapeake and along the eastern seaboard. Maybe the latter is all we do on this boat, and we look to upgrade to 2.0 when it's time for more adventurous crossings.

I've been reading the incredibly helpful design threads on here a bit, and am slowly starting to grasp the factors driving "modern" boat design (and to understand why I've started seeing so many 'old working boat' designs appearing in modern FG at the marinas with modern gear and lovely brass brightwork), and I was drawn quite a bit to the Beneteau Firsts, for the LWL/LOA, DISP/LEN and DISP/SA. But then I look at the "comfort ratio" and CSF and I'm suddenly much less drawn, mostly because my non-sailors will really be happier with a much less tender and less bouncy boat (lower motion), and the CR is <20 (still better than the Freedom - even in a fresh breeze - Beaufort 5 - my "crew" wasn't very comfortable). As much as I'd like something that points well (the Freedom is meh to weather, amazing on a reach) and is good in light wind, I'm more concerned about my crew/passenger comfort.

So...I went back to a previous recommendation to look at the Pearsons (which I've always thought are beautiful). The 36-2 seems like a reasonably modern design when I look at the calculations - better than I expected after reading some commentary that Pearson had fallen behind in design. Of course it seems difficult to know what a boat will feel like in different seas without actually sailing it there, but it doesn't appear too different from the Freedom in terms of LWL/LOA and DISP/LEN, and has a considerably better CR and CSF.

I'm not interested in the shoal/swing keel, but the 6.5" draft shouldn't be an issue for us.
 

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The Pearson 36-2 is pretty typical of boats of that size and era. Lots of similar boats built in the 80s before the big shakeout in the industry about 1990. I would try to decide what characteristics are most important to you and what features are essential and what would be nice to have. Develop a short list of boats to consider and then go look for a good one.

I'll let others chime in on the usefulness of some of those ratios.
 

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I was extremely interested in the Pearson 36-2. I had chartered one several times for a week, and thought they were great - until I saw a Pearson 38! There were very few Pearson 38s built, but the hull is the same as the 36-2. Instead of the table that converts to a double berth it had a drop leaf table and a walk-through transom with a swim platform. My greatest complaint about both boats is that the engine access under the galley sink is not good.

Because of the Pearson 38, I decided that a swim platform was a necessity.

I eventually bought an O'day 35, and am very happy with it. I would suggest a look at the Catalina 34 and 36 too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback - yes, the numbers seem pretty common for boats of that era, so there's a lot to pick from and as is very often noted here: the bigger issue is always the condition of the specific boat. That said, the features I've started to come around to as very desirable are:

1) "Sugar Scoop" - I know the 36-2 doesn't actually have this, but yes, in our family, this is very much a feature we'd like.
2) long LWL (getting away from IOR shapes), and not so much overhang (more plumb bow).
3) good capsize safety margin.

Well, I'm still hunting around. I had gotten taken by the more modern boats (wide, walk-through transom, deep bulb keel, plumb bow) but was surprised to see both the comfort and capsize ratios weren't really that much better. I'm also still learning. Maybe I need to spend more time in the design forum.
 
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