Bluewater Sailboat – Pearson 35


Pearson Yachts was formed in 1959 in Rhode Island, USA by cousins Clinton and Everett Pearson with the debut of the Triton 28, the first mass-produced fibreglass sailboat. Pearson Yachts worked with the world’s most prominent designers throughout its initial phase to develop indelible classics that are still adored today. Then they shifted to in-house designs, producing a plethora of winners over the years. With a 14-year production run and approximately 500 hulls manufactured, the Bluewater Sailboat Pearson 35, which debuted in 1968, is one of their most popular in-house designs. She is generally regarded, especially by shallow water sailors along the US Atlantic Coast, as one of Gregg Nesto’s twenty cheap sailboats to carry you anyplace.

Pearson 35
Pearson 35
  • LOA: 35′ 0″
  • LWL: 25′ 0″
  • Beam: 10′ 0″
  • Draft: 3′ 9″ / 7′ 6″
  • Displacement: 13,000 lbs
  • Ballast: 5,400 lbs
  • Sail Area: 550 sq. ft.
  • Fuel: 42 US. Gal.
  • Water: 130 US. Gal.
  • Designer: William H. Shaw
  • Year Introduced: 1968
  • Year Ended: 1982
  • Builder: Pearson Yachts (Rhode Island, USA)


Bill Shaw had taken over Pearson Yachts’ design wing and authored this 35-footer as a direct replacement for a frequently misunderstood 35-foot Carl Alberg classic that was in production from 1964 to 1968. Shaw’s Pearson 35 has a 7’6″ centerboard and a 3’9″ complete keel with a linked rudder. With her lengthy overhangs, beautiful sheer, modest freeboard, and narrow beam by today’s standards, she draws inspiration from the CCA rules of the day. Her 371 D/L ratio makes her rather heavy, yet she has a reasonable 15.9 SA/D ratio in light breeze. Pearson advertised her as having racing potential at first, but once IOR regulations became popular, they firmly labelled her as a cruiser.

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The hull is made of solid fibreglass, with a balsa cored deck to reduce weight up high. The lead ballast weighs 5,400 pounds and is dispersed throughout the keel cavity, while the centerboard is made of fibreglass laminate. Pearson provided the inner structure and rigidity with moulded liners above and pans below. Interior bulkheads, ceilings, and cabinetry are finished with wood grain or off white plastic laminates. A 44′ 6″ clearance sloop or yawl rig is aloft, supported below by a weight-bearing bulkhead. The interior of the Mark I features a combination dinette / double bunk portside aft. After 1975, the dinette was replaced with a true transom berth..


Her finest performance under sail is in reaching, but if you reef the main and jib properly, she can get to windward well. Her 10-foot beam is initially sensitive. She locks in at 30 degrees, makes advantage of her CCA overhangs, and has gentle motion in a seaway. She has survived strong storms and 20-foot seas before returning to port in excellent condition. Because of her small waterline length, expect some hobbyhorsing in chop.

Quick Notes

The balsa cored deck on these vintage 35’s is of particular significance. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, balsa cored construction was in its infancy, pioneered by Canada’s C&C and the United States’ Pearson Yachts. Pearson’s glassing methods around deck hardware and the main mast were not fully developed. A moist core in the mast is especially concerning, as it could threaten the integrity of the supporting bulkhead. Later boats from the late 1970s and early 1980s are known to have cosmetic blister difficulties as a result of boat pox at the time.

Pearson Yachts terminated manufacture of Shaw’s 35-footer in 1982, and all operations were discontinued in 1991. A little more than 500 Pearson 35s were constructed.

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