So we finally broke from the shackles, slash blessings, of Bob Perry designed yachts and purchased a 1985 Pearson 36-2 sailboat from the design table of William Shaw. Last summer a boat at our marina came up for sale that was simply too irresistible to decline. If anyone knows anything about me and my taste in yachts, you know that I have been extolling the virtues of Robert Perry for a very long time. So it is with no small measure that I (we) have stepped outside our pre-defined norms and considered another yacht design for our new boat de jour.

Hereto follows my considered opinion and initial impressions of the Pearson 36-2 sloop rigged sailing craft manufactured between 1985 and 1990 by Pearson Yachts.

Our sailboat is hull number 17 built in 1985, which is an interesting or maybe not so interesting to anyone but me depending on you inclinations, the day and year of our son’s birth. This was early in the production run of this fine vessel.

My first impression upon viewing the Pearson 36-2, was one of awe. She is a fine looking sailboat from any angle. This can not be said of many sailboats today. She has a pretty spring line moving aft to fore and an attractive stern, slash booty. Her bow has a bow angle typical of the mid 80’s which I find to be easier on the eye than today’s straight bow angles. She has a full-length toe rail of teak, which is beautiful to look at. Less so to maintain, and even less desirable to replace. Fortunately, ours is in very good shape. One of the few benefits of living in the northern latitudes I suppose.

On deck, there are no less than five ventilation points, consisting of four opening hatches and one cowl vent with dorade box. The sails are raised from the mast, with winches starboard and port. Ours has been updated with a furling unit built by Harken and sold by North Sails. It is a quality piece of equipment and works without complaint. Our previous boat had the main halyard running to the cockpit, so raising the main sail from the mast has taken some adjustment on my part. In the past I could run the tiller while raising the main sail at the same time. Now if I am sailing shorthanded, I must engage the auto-pilot to raise the main sail. Not a big issue to be sure.

The anchor locker is of ample size to stow the ground tackle and Danforth style anchor with ease. We have 200′ of three-strand and 25′ of chain making up our anchoring system. We did change out the Danforth for a Bruce style anchor, which hangs from the bow roller perfectly. We’ll keep the Danforth for a stern anchor or emergency storm anchor to be used in conjunction with the Bruce.

storm anchor

Not a Bruce style anchor, but you get the idea.

The cockpit is large and very comfortable for a minimum of six persons. The seat back angles are nice on the old back and my favorite way to sit is with my back up against the bulkhead facing aft. The destroyer style steering wheel is large and requires one to climb up and around to move past it. However, when sitting to leeward, the extra diameter of the wheel makes for easy steering and a comfortable position to enjoy the sail.

There are two cockpit drains aft and a confidence building bridge-deck to keep any boarding seas from flowing down the companion way. The companion way is much smaller than the one on our previous sailboat, an Islander 28. It is still easy to negotiate and in someways easier to exit without having to remove the hatch boards. Currently, we do not have a dodger installed, so this may change once that happens. We are still debating whether or not to have one built. The design of the companion way is such that simply sliding the top closed keeps most rain out of the cabin.

There is no split back stay which makes using the stern ladder much easier than our last boat. On the downside, it was nice to be able to tension the backstay to help get perfect sail shape up front. There is a nice drop ladder with teak steps  in which to climb back aboard, either from a refreshing swim or returning to home-base from a trip in the dingy. As an aside, we have found it easier on our last two boats to climb aboard from the side rather than the stern. I made a one-step ladder which can be hung from the side to help make things a little easier.

Moving down below, we find an extraordinarily comfortable living space. We were completely blown away when we first saw her. Our first impression was holy smokes, look at all this room!

Pearson 36-2 Review, to be continued…

Please come back soon to read the rest of the review! I hope to update this shortly after spring commissioning.