In Brief

pearson35-sail-plan Pearson Yachts was founded in 1959 in Rhode Island, USA by cousins Clinton and Everett Pearson with their introduction of the first mass production fiberglass sailboat, the Triton 28. During the company’s first era, Pearson Yachts worked with the famous designers in the world to introduce indelible classics that are admired still today. Then they switched to in-house designs and produced a prolific number of winners over the years. The Pearson 35, introduced in 1968, is one of the most popular of their in-house designs with a 14 year production run and over 500 hulls molded. Featured as one of Gregg Nesto’s twenty affordable sailboats to take you anywhere, she is well regarded especially by shoal water sailors along the US Atlantic Coast for her 3′ 9″ board up draft.

Bill Shaw had taken over the design wing of Pearson Yachts and penned this 35-footer as a direct replacement for an often confused 35-foot Carl Alberg classic which was in production from 1964 until 1968. Shaw’s Pearson 35 has 7′ 6″ centerboard and 3′ 9″ full keel arrangement with connected rudder. She draws inspiration from the CCA rules of the day with her long overhangs, graceful sheer, and modest freeboard, and narrow beam by today’s standards. She is quite heavy with her 371 D/L ratio but has a respectable 15.9 SA/D ratio for light wind. At first Pearson advertise her as having racing potential, but as the IOR rules came into vogue they squarely branded her as a cruiser.

The construction is a solid fiberglass hull with a balsa cored deck to reduce weight up high. The 5,400 pounds of lead ballast is distributed in the full keel cavity while the centerboard is fiberglass laminate. Pearson used molded liners overhead and pans below to provide the interior structure and rigidity. Wood gran or off white plastic laminates fit out the interior bulkheads, ceilings, and cabinetry. Aloft is a 44′ 6″ clearance sloop or yawl rig, stepped on deck, and supported below by a weight-bearing bulkhead. Mark I interiors feature a combination dinette / double berth portside aft. Post 1975, they eliminated the the dinette in favor of a true transom berth.

Under sail her best performance is reaching though if you reef the main and jib appropriately she can to windward well. Her 10-foot beam makes tender at first. At 30 degrees she locks in, takes advantage of her CCA overhangs, and has soft motion in a seaway. She has weathered heavy storms and 20-foot seas before coming back to harbor in great shape. In chop, expect some amount of hobbyhorsing because her short waterline length.

Of particular concern on this vintage 35’s is the balsa cored deck. Balsa cored construction was in its infancy during the late 1960’s and 1970’s led by Canada’s C&C and USA’s Pearson Yachts. Pearson’s processes for glassing around deck hardware and the main mast were not in full bloom. The mast is especially a concern as a wet core could jeopardize the integrity of the supporting bulkhead. Later models in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s are known to have cosmetic blister issues due to that era’s boat pox.

Pearson Yachts ceased production of Shaw’s 35-footer in 1982 and all operations in 1991. Slightly over 500 Pearson 35’s were built.


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)

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Bristol 35

Links, References and Further Reading

» Pearson 35: A popular, well-aged, shoal-draft cruiser, Twenty Affordable Sailboats To Take You Anywhere, Gregg Nesto
» Pearson 35, Boat Reviews by Jack Hornor
» The Pearson 35′ Sloop, Boating Magazine, Syd Rogers, April 1968
» Pearson History, Good Old Boat, Steve Mitchell


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15 thoughts on “Pearson 35”

  1. Robert Page says:

    Bringing my recently purchased P-35 to Southwest Harbor, ME next week. Looking forward to the trip from Massachusetts and running into other P-35s in our travels.

  2. Dave Harvey says:

    We have a ’75 P-35 292 in Rockland, good solid boat, hope to see you in the bay in ’18

  3. Sharyn Cookson says:

    Our hull number 276
    on our 1974 is located on a plate just below the companion way in the cockpit. It should also be listed on your purchase document. We love how our 35 sails. We brought her up in 25 knot winds and dropped sail at 35 knot We were reefed.. She handled it so well , under sail and under power. Sailing out of Camden, Me

  4. Gary Haskell says:

    Hello fellow Pearson-35 owners. I’m looking for a little help please. I just purchased a P-35. I’m trying to find out the Hull number. Is it part of the registration number The former owner.. meh .. BoatUS told me that it was made or finished in July 76. Thanks in advance

  5. Micheal Kelly says:

    I have a 1978 P 35. About finished with major overhaul: new yanmar power, reglassed below water line with vinyl ester resin, new gel coat above waterline and deck, new marine ac/heat…topside teak replaced/refinished as needed. Going back in water this fall. Pass Christian MS

  6. Sharyn Cookson says:

    In Camden, ME will be sailing a P35 summer of 2017, love to talk with other Maine owners, Sharyn Cookson

  7. John cookson says:

    Hey Ryan my wife and I are looking at aP35 would love to buy you a beer and talk we live in camden. JOHN

  8. Ryan Reed says:

    Willy Lewis, if your still in freeport id love to pick your brain, i just bout a 1969 P35 and live up the coast but I’m from freeport. cheers

  9. Willy Lewis says:

    She’s in the water with new top sides and systems. Being a Systems Tech at Brewers in S Freeport, with a long winter behind us, our team can produce many new features. Much hull repair and bilge updates too. Pipe Dream P35 Hull #1

  10. Bill Boyher says:

    I’ve owned a P35 for 11 years now and often dream of getting to the islands on it but the wife isn’t too fond of sailing so I may have to go alone. I’d be interested in any pictures you have and details of changes/improvements you’ve made. Thanks!!

    S/V Summer Rose
    League City, Texas

    1. Tom swindle says:

      I jusr bought a 1968 Pearson 35 in League City at South Shore Harbor.
      Let’s compare history and notes.


    2. Tom swindle says:

      Bill in League City, Texas

      I would still like to talk about our ships….

      “Here’s to all the ‘ol men,
      On all the ‘ol boats.
      And to all the ‘ol women, on the shore”.

  11. Harris says:

    Good write up of a “Good Old Classic.”

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for having the site up and running.  We have lived aboard our P35 for the last 7+ years, currently wintering onboard in Belfast, ME.  Will look forward to interacting with other sailboat owners here and will tell a bit of the “tale” when time permits.  She is called S/V Vahana – and she’s brought us from Downeast Maine to the @01:disqus ry Tortugas and back.  2012/2013 winter plans are for another trip south – cruising kitty permitting !

    1. Ryan Reed says:

      Hello there anonymous, If your still in belfast or the midcoast id love to meet up with you and talk boat. i have a 1969 P35 that i live aboard in Rockland Cheers

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