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Old 17-08-2009, 10:18   #1
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Pearson 323

I'm looking at a Pearson 323 and wanted to know if it would make for a good cruising boat. I would live aboard for a couple of years and would cruse around the GOM, Caribbean, Central and the northern part of South America.

It does have a fin keel and seem lighter than a cape dory & bristol which i've also been looking at and are proven blue water boats.

Any info would be appreciated.
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Old 17-08-2009, 11:07   #2
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The only serious issues I would see are light displacement limits the amount of gear you can haul. You need a fair amount gear. It would be possible to overload this boat and that would be something to be concerned about. You can load more gear that you should carry. That normally is not an issue as much on a heavier boat. Tanks are on the small side and maybe a bit under powered. Some are gasoline powered, though lots of Atomic 4's out there running around.

Yes, the Pearson is not a Bristol or Cape Dory so don't pretend. If you found a newer one from the 80's and it had some refitting already done you might make that work OK. No matter how great a Pearson 323 was when new it's not the same boat you will be getting today. Condition matters a whole lot more than the brand name. On boats over 30 years old it's not everything - it's the only thing.
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Old 17-08-2009, 12:50   #3
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The Cape Dory is rated at 11700 lbs, the Pearson is 12500 lbs. 12500 is a pretty heavy boat for a 32. Not real heavy but defintiely not a light weight. A Catalina 36 is rated at only 14100 lb. The Pearson is a long fin and skeg design vs the semi full keel of the CD. Bill Shaw's boats are noted for being well designed. I suspect the Pearson would treat you well , as with all, as PBlais said...find a particular boat that is good.
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Old 17-08-2009, 12:57   #4
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"Condition matters a whole lot more than the brand name. On boats over 30 years old it's not everything - it's the only thing."

Do you really believe that Paul? Would not the design and initial build quality matter a lot as well?

For example, if there were a poorly maintained 30 year old Swan available dirt cheap, don't you think a boat like that would attract a lot of interest?
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Old 17-08-2009, 13:06   #5
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Scubasteve, for your reference, there is one up here in NYC being sold on ebay. Looks like it's in great shape and it's getting a lot of bids.

1979 PEARSON 323 SAILBOAT. EXC COND!!! NO RESERVE!!:eBay Motors (item 110423469787 end time Aug-18-09 13:13:38 PDT)

I recall chartering a Pearson of about 32 feet up in the San Juan Islands about 15 years back. I can't say for sure that it was a 323 but I was impressed. I think for your intended purpose, the Pearson 323 would be fine. Pearson built good boats back in the 70's / early 80's.
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Old 17-08-2009, 13:11   #6
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"Do you really believe that Paul?" If you wanted to make sure you got to work everyday, would you buy a Porsche that had been rode hard and put away wet or a clean little Toyota? Depends on the condition....
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Old 17-08-2009, 13:14   #7
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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
"Do you really believe that Paul?" If you wanted to make sure you got to work everyday, would you buy a Porsche that had been rode hard and put away wet or a clean little Toyota? Depends on the condition....
Yes, good point. But the buyer's intentions also matter. I've always wanted to own and drive a Porsche, and if the restoration costs were not too great, I might buy that Porsche.
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Old 17-08-2009, 13:23   #8
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I hear ya! Just not sure a spade rudder Swan would be a great cruiser for the average cruiser but for some it would be great. Problem is.... when it comes down to it... not sure I can name many sailboats where..."attention was paid to the details" Although older Waquiez and alot of Ta Shing built boats come to mind as well as the Swans and J boats I suppose. An older Swan would likely be a pretty wet ride though.....
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Old 17-08-2009, 13:44   #9
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Right. I would not choose most Swans for cruising. Maybe a Hinckley would have been a better example in this context.
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Old 18-08-2009, 10:14   #10
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Thanks for the reply's!

I agree that I might be better off getting a newer lighter boat than a heavier boat with 30 years worth of issues. I’m trying to find the line in the middle; an older hull in good condition worth putting some energy and money into. The fun part is trying to find the right boat in the right condition, location and cost.
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Old 18-08-2009, 13:13   #11
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Quote:
I agree that I might be better off getting a newer lighter boat than a heavier boat with 30 years worth of issues. I’m trying to find the line in the middle; an older hull in good condition worth putting some energy and money into.
Just a good hull can still bleed you to death with all the attachments. A neglected boat always has lots of surprises ahead. Many big ones don't show up for a year. All the stuff attached is worth way more than the hull and is hard to fix. Fiberglass as a rule is always fixable.

If you are on a budget and trying to stay in the $30K range it is easy to rack up another $20K finishing the boat. 20% or more can easily be added to an older boat that starts out looking pretty good. The newer boats are going to cost that much more plus. If you are on a tight budget then you need to forget design quality because you can't afford the reasons it was available too cheap. Never take a free boat!

Quote:
The fun part is trying to find the right boat in the right condition, location and cost.
Location has extra costs. You might end up with an extra $2K just in running around. You also have the risk of having to effect needed repairs in a strange place in a hurry to get it back to a place where you want to do the work you know you have to do. Far away surprises always cost $1000 or more.

We got our first boat by studying available boats close by, doing some research on YachtWorld, and reading in places like CF (this was before CF). We were happy with the boat but we got a lot surprises. We were smarter with the second boat and we got surprises too.

To begin you look at some boats close to home and basically learn how to look at boats. Take notes and get smarter. Sooner or later you find something worth surveying. Investigate the boats you find for sale then go look at one. Crawling around 10 boats is a good education if approached with preparation.

The other approach is to compute the perfect boat then go to the ends of the earth to find it. This approach takes longer, chews up a lot of time, and eats a ton of money. You then run the risk of a computation error and wasted a lot of time.

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I agree that I might be better off getting a newer lighter boat than a heavier boat with 30 years worth of issues.
I don't think there is any hard and fast rules about that. A boat neglected for 5 years could be your worst nightmare. You may be better off looking at 27 to 28 ft boats. Smaller boats are cheaper to own and fix. They have less stuff on them and the stuff is cheaper than the big boat stuff. It depends on what you find for sale.
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Old 18-08-2009, 14:23   #12
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No matter how much I think I've learned, I am amazed at how much I underestimate when I buy a boat...
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Old 18-04-2011, 16:53   #13
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Re: Pearson 323

We have a new site with information on the 323 : Pearson 323 Home
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Old 19-04-2011, 06:50   #14
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Re: Pearson 323

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, sailodr.

Thanks for sharing all that great information! ➥ http://pearson323.com/
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Old 20-06-2015, 12:14   #15
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Re: Pearson 323

Any advice for repowering my Pearson 323 with a Yanmar? Anyone have photos? Thanks
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