Ok my first question is where do you plan to sail out of on Erie?
Secondly either of those boats with an 8hp and decent prop is plenty. I had a Bristol 24 as my first keelboat (prior were small cats). The two are very similar and built very close together in New England
Some things that are different between the S2 and the Pearson
shape. The Pearson
is a wine glass type hull
and will be tender
(tippy) to about 20 degrees of heel and then go like its on rails. It's hard to screw up in a boat like the Pearson. I tried to broach my Bristol (controlled to learn) but never did.
The S2 is flatter and more champagne glass type shape. It prefers to be less rail in the water
before you start sailing sideways. Both nice boats just different.
The beamy hulls like the S2 have more living space but I think the Pearson type boat (there are several similar) is a perfect first boat. They don't go well in light air but when that thunderstorm catches you it is very forgiving provided you have an ounce of common sense which you seem to have.
All of these boats have cored decks. You don't want softness around the chain plates or deck
fittings. It's fixable but is time consuming and gives you a point to negotiate with.
Take a screwdriver along and tap with the upside down handle on deck
(bit in the air perpendicular to the deck). It doesn't take any force at all. If you hear a hollow boom that's dry typically if you get a dull thud that is typically wet core
. Exceptions exist where there is built in reinforcement but that basic knowledge helped me a lot getting started.
Look for any staining too on the wood that shows water leaks
. Freshwater doesn't show a lot of rust.
Also a big top join BoatUS and get a towing policy. Best $50 you will spend if you need it one time.
Hope this helps a bit.
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