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Old 25-05-2014, 15:21   #1
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First Boat - 1978 Pearson 26

Good evening! I'd like some input on my first sailboat purchase. First, a little about me and what I'm looking to get out of it:

-Live in Newport News, VA
-Looking to cruise the Chesapeake for 1-3 days at a time either single handed or a few friends onboard.
-New to sailing. Took ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Certification in 2012, but haven't sailed since then as I was in Afghanistan for most of 2013.
-will likely only own this boat for 2 years due to probable move overseas in mid 2016

The boat is a 1978 Pearson 26. It's likely that I can buy her for $2300. She's been on the hard for two years as the owner lives 1.5 hours away from the marina and does not have the time to sail. The owner states that the boat was in perfect working order since being layed up. Since I'll most likely only own the boat for 2 years and the price is so low, I'd figure I'll settle for a insurance survey only.

I've read Dan Pfeiffer's website for things to look out for. As mentioned above, I'm new to boats in general. Specifics:

-rudder has a little play, doesn't seem to be excessive
-comes with 1990 Johnson 9.9 hp (haven't tried to start it, but obviously needs work)
-keel bolts a little rusty
-sails (main, storm jib, genoa) in fair condition but need some cleaning for mildew
-comes with inflatable Halcyon dinghy
-Raytheon ST1000+ autotiller included
-keel a little rusty; bottom in fair shape (some spots need spot sanding)

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Old 25-05-2014, 15:49   #2
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Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

Sounds like a decent deal. It's a sturdy well build boat. You've read Dan's website, so you know where the usual issues are. Those keel bolts looks a little scary. I'd want a closer look. Seems to be reasonably priced. You'll pay more for the slip and haul outs.

Have you thought about something trailerable ? You might pay more up front but save on slip and storage fees ..

Accommodations for 3 adults would be more like a camping trip.. but if you get her in shape it will sail the bay nicely. I like the pearson 26's

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Old 25-05-2014, 16:08   #3
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Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

The Pearson 26 is a great boat. Sounds like a good price as well, even if you have to put a little more money and elbow grease in to get it into operational shape.
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Old 25-05-2014, 16:14   #4
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Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

No, I haven't thought about anything trailerable. My work schedule dictates how much I'll actually be able to sail so I'd like to drive right to the marina and go. That, and I'd like to limit the wear and tear on my vehicle.

My thoughts are that the boat holds up as it is other than replacing the running rigging, sail cleaning, and engine tune up. I'm trying not to make this a long term investment for a first time boat considering the price. Heck, if I have to donate the boat after two years when I move overseas, I'd be fine with that.
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Old 25-05-2014, 17:07   #5
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Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

Sounds like a good deal. But those keel bolts are downright scary. Get those inspected thoroughly. You might be best served dropping the keel and inspecting/replacing them.

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Old 25-05-2014, 17:24   #6
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Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

Good advice. I assume that inspecting them means separating the keel from the hull, removing, replacing and them resealing/repainting? All of a sudden this seems like a larger investment than I want to make considering I'll only have two sailing seasons with the boat. I know you can't put a price on safety though. Any idea how much it would cost to have someone do the work?
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Old 25-05-2014, 17:34   #7
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pirate Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

I had a 26. The absolute only thing I didn't like about it was the iron keel. Nothing is more fun than a good sailing boat. Just right for one guy.

Some one will post with an answer on keel bolts.
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Old 25-05-2014, 18:56   #8
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Location: Slidell, LA
Boat: Beneteau First 375
Posts: 124
Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

I used to own a Pearson 26 One-Design - same hull & rig, different cabin layout. I agree with the rest, great little boat, tough, & sails well. As far as the keel bolts, I think if the plywood hull core over the keel is still good (dry), the keel will stay on for a few more years. You could try tightening the nuts to see if the plywood compresses, or look around for fractures in the fiberglass, or even try to see if the keel will move side to side in relation to the hull.
If you're OK with the rudder play, also check the mast step to see if the core on the cabintop is compressed and dished in, and check the wood mast support post in the cabin, especially at the bottom where it's exposed to bilge water.
One thing about those boats is the low companionway sill - if you're sailing in rough conditions that might result in a knockdown or water in the cockpit, be SURE to have the bottom hatchboard in place (don't ask).
Sounds like a great deal.
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Old 27-07-2014, 07:18   #9
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Re: First boat - 1978 Pearson 26

Hi. Just purchased a 74 Pearson 26 myself. While I'm no expert,I have owned a few sailboats,restored one,and am the current owner of a Hunter 31.My concerns are the same as yours especially the keel bolts. I suppose the "quick fix" would be to evaluate the extent of corrosion and if mostly superficial,gently brush off the rust and(this is my own remedy)keep the nuts and bolts coated with machine oil.It's important to keep the bilge dry as possible of course,frequently inspect,and clean and add oil as needed.Also note you keel hull joint for any separation and fill and fair accordingly.

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