I've taught aboard both. Both good little boats. The big wide companion way of the Catalina might be a potential liability in rough conditions. The Pearson is a bit more traditional in it's layout -- a bit more snug for when the seas pick up.
Either, in good sea worthy condition, would be fine for coastal hopping this route.
Looking to sail on of these 2 boats from Maryland to mobile al ? Any thoughts ?
The Pearson is likely to sail faster, and that's a long trip. I have a bias against the Catalina 30's, and Pearsons can be snappy little boats. The comment about the Tartan is nice, but might quadruple the price of the boat.
I loved my Catalina 30 - very spacious and well laid out. Had a dodger, which on more than one occasion kept a wave out of the cockpit.
Tastes differ. I don't really like the Catalina layout, but ... that's why there are so many choices. I just think the Pearson is faster. *For me* that would matter on a long trip. Oh heck for me that would matter on a 2 hour trip.