Pearson-26 ( Day Sailer / Pocket Cruiser Conversion )

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by George Poszich, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Hello everyone,
    I'm new to this forum, hopefully I'm in the proper forum, as this is my first and only post to date. Any comments or guidance on the following would be greatly appreciated. Im looking to buy an old Pearson-26 with the intent of converting it to either a day sailer or possibly a pocket cruiser.

    I have two concepts in mind, the first of which, the pocket cruiser option. This would involve modifying the P-26 from its original factory configuration to an open enlarged cockpit similar the that found on a Pearson Ensign with the cabin being modified to retain only the vee berth and the two foot area aft of the vee birth that currently houses the marine head and storage locker. This concept would involve the removal of the cabin house aft of the mast, the removal of the existing cockpit itself and the entire boat liner. The rebuild would include a new bulkhead aft of the mast itself, relocating the marine head midship beneath the vee berth and the addition on a galley where the marine hear was originally. I would also install a new cockpit soul and wooden bench seats, and coming boards similar to that found on the Ensign. Basically I'd have what could be described as a Perason Ensign on steroids.

    My hope is to use such a boat on the Chesapeake Bay, since I live four hours away, it would be handy if I could trailer it, and launch from a slip as opposed to lifting it into the water. So here's my question and what it is l'm seeking feedback on. The original displacement of the P-26 is 5,400 lbs with its ballast at 40%. After undertaking my planned modifications the boat should be lighter that before. I'm wondering would it be possible to re-weigh the boat after the conversion is completed, then modify the steel bolt on keel from its original 4' draft to a 3' draft while keeping the 40% relation between the ballast and total displacement. This my involve the addition of a wing at the keel bottom if the ballast 40% threshold is not met.

    The big question is this, since this boat is equipped with a swept back fin keel, will the smaller keel area adversely affect the boats ability to move through the water. Removing the bottom one foot of the keel would move the keel center slightly forward by a minor amount, maybe a inch or two at most. Most all of Carl Alberg's designs are in the 40% ballast to displacement ratio, it would seen that this should work with this scenario with the following caveat. If the weight reduction from the original 5,400 pounds is too great, I may possibly need to shorten the mast to rebalance the sail area to keel relationship.

    My second synario would be to remove the deck completely install the bulkhead aft of the mast as before, forgoing the vee bert and galley, leaving me with a rather large day sailer with plenty of storage for sails etc. I'm not sure I'm smart enough to fully understand the technical variations this all would cause to the boats performance. All I really want is some reasonable assurance that this would actually leave me with a boat i could enjoy sailing, before I invest the money and labor, especially the labor.

    Warmest Regards,
    George Poszich
     
  2. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Such a project is doable but will require more than a little bit of structural engineering. These boats are carefully designed to work in as much structural strength as possible by using bulkheads and cabin furniture, such as seats and berths, as structural re enforcing for the hull. If any of these are removed, something must replace them to fulfill their old structural duties.

    This can be done with web frames, or better yet, molded half-tube or hat section frames. Since you're dealing with fiberglass, you must avoid 'hard spots'. Depending on your cabin/deck plan, you may have to create half-tube or hat sectioned longitudinal frames as well.

    Your idea for making the boat lighter would probably require a weight and trim study as well as a redesign of the rig. If the boat is lighter and the ballast is both lighter and shallower, the boat will have less righting moment. Having less of this may now mean that the mast is now not only way too strong, but way too heavy as well. The cheap fix is to make it shorter at the expense of a proportionate amount of sail area. Then the sails will all have to be re-cut and the shrouds and stays will have to be shortened as well. Doing this could open another can of worms, as it may affect the balance of the boat giving it a harsh weather helm, or, much worse, a lee helm.

    Another problem with making the boat lighter is that it will no longer sail on its original lines. It's LWL may shorten, as well as its even more important Beam WL.

    I think think you would be better served finding a trailerable boat, of roughly the same size, and modifying it. But, even then, you will end up with structural issues, as you modify its deck/cabin plan.
     
  3. wjmuseler
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: Portsmouth, RI

    wjmuseler Junior Member

    The P26 already has some weather helm issues. Shortening the keel will not help that and if you reduce righting moment it will exacerbate the problem.
     
  4. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Hello Sharpii2 & Wjmuseler,
    Please forgive the delay in responding, it's a combination of life, time and too many irons in the fire. I'm most grateful for your comments and advice, after making a day long trip to the Maryland shore and spending a considerable about of time on board the Pearson-26 with a sounding hammer and note pad, I've come to my senses and realize not all ideas are good ideas. So what I've decided instead, is to purchase the purchase of a older Ensign and undertake a total refit, new finishes cockpit deck hull etc, rigging and a new suit of sails. It's a great Daysailer, will work well for my intended use and bring joy to my life. What more could someone ask, besides it will keep my mind active and promote good health. Thus far I've purchased a twin axle trailer to haul it with, and am in the process of refurbishing that, new paint brakes, wiring and new poppetts. I've also purchased my Ensign and will be retrieving it as soon as my new/old trailer is roadworthy.

    Thanks again for your generous comments,
    Regards
    George Poszich
     
  5. Scot McPherson
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: New England

    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    Well looks like you got the ensign already, but I just wanted to throw in there that you could also have looked for a Seasprite. It's the same hull, the only difference being whether it's a masthead sloop or a fractional sloop.

    I have a Seasprite in my driveway that I have been restoring. Summer heat stopped work on it. All that's left is to finish replacing the chain plate backing blocks, remove the last remnants of the old bottom paint, fair out the patches and new glass laid up, and repaint the hull. Maybe I'll get it in the water this summer, but probably the next as I have to buy a new house while that's going on.
     
  6. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Pearson Ensign

    Hello Scot,

    Thanks for the info on the Seasprite, I'm grateful, one of the overriding things that drove me to the older Ensign was total cost verses return on investment. What I continually ran into was this, all boats look good in photographs, when you see them first hand, they all need work. One of the things that gave me difficulty is trying to determine what condition the sail inventory was in, verses the owners verbal description of where they were. Because I have a complete wood shop with all the tools, and can perform the restoration work, the labor aspect of boat repair is like money in the bank for me, as it would be more like therapy than a chore. New North sails are in the $2,800 range for the ensign, even if I have to replace all the standing rigging, it's only about $900 thereabouts.

    Have a great day,
    Regards
    George Poszich
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    The only way you can really check a sail's condition is to hoist them and go out in 10+ knots of wind. The Ensign is a great little boat. there was a fellow here that redid one a few years back, so it might be worth a search for those previous threads.
     
  8. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Hello PAR,
    Thanks for weighing in on the sail condition issue. I've seen some pretty nice looking Ensigns for sale out there on the net, most of which are long distance to where I live. This within itself has never been a problem for me, as I've traveled great distances to purchase items listed online, 600 miles in some instances. Its particularly difficult to embark on such a long trip, not knowing for sure what you'll find when you arrive. More often than not the owners version of a boats condition will be somewhat rosier than that of a marine appraiser. After looking at a dozen or so boats listed on line, I've found the biggest risk is the condition of the sails and standing rigging. While a boat may look clean and well kept in published photographs, there's plenty you don't see. So because of all these unknowns, I've decided to buy a older boat that will need some work, their more affordable to buy and even with adding the cost of a new suite of sales and possibly new standing rigging, the overall cost will be less than some of the asking prices I'm seeing. Naturally you'd need to provide the labor to do the boat repair yourself for this to work. From what I can tell, the price for two new sails and new standing rigging represent roughly 1/2 the cost of some of the boats I see listed, so it would make sense that a new suite of sails and rigging would eliminate half the risk in buying a old boat, especially when you factor in the unknown at the end of a long day on the road.

    Regards,
    George Poszich
     
  9. Scot McPherson
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: New England

    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    Hi George,
    Yup, I was just mentioning the seasprite because they are nearly interchangeable. And regarding the rigging, you are spot on cost wise...quote I have gotten for new standing rigging for the seaprite were between $800-$1000 and did not include any fees for installation.
     
  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You can replace standing and running rigging as you need to. For example you may not trust the headstay, so it gets replaced, but the back and shrouds might survive a season or two. the same for the sails, get a new main and live with the jib(s) until you've just had enough of their shape. Also, buy the wire in bulk rolls online, where you'll get much better pricing than any marine retailer.
     
  11. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Hello PAR,
    Thanks for the comments, rigging wise the Pearson Ensign is quite small compared to my last boat, a Gulfstar-37. In the twenty years I lived in Florida, there were three times I wished I'd replaced all the rigging on my boat, once in the Atlantic on my Gulfstar and twice in the Gulf of Mexico aboard my Irwin Citation-30. On all three occasions at least in my mind, my chances of survival were questionable, storms are scary to say the least. There's a big difference between a 22,000lb Gulfstar and a 3,000lb Ensign, nonetheless good rigging is critical when caught in a storm. Great comments on your part, I'll definitely look into bulk wire as a option when the time comes. Most of the project boats I've looked at are sporting sails that are beyond tired. I'm new to this forum and already recognize its value in helping someone like me with their first comprehensive restoration of an old boat. All who take time to comment by sharing their knowledge and experiences make this a great place to be, my thanks to everyone.

    Thanks for you help,
    Regards
    George Poszich
     

  12. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Pearson Ensign #1754 ( Adjustable outboard bracket )

    Greeting everyone,
    I'm looking to replace the existing three pronged wire outboard mount that is located on the port side of the transom of my boat with a new adjustable outboard mount that would be located in the center of the transom. The reason for this modification is to allow for the installation on a 8-HP +/- outboard with electric start and with remote controls to the cockpit that provide throttle and shifting control of the outboard. The existing bracket and outboard arrangement doesn't lend itself to singlehand sailing especially when docking and maneuvering in and out of the marina. My hope is, this modification will make it easier to maneuver the boat in tight quarters, especially when docking singlehand on a wharf between two other boats, ( parallel parking in the water so to speak ).

    I'm curious if anyone knows if the flotation beneath the aft deck is expandible foam or possibly foam blocks? To mount this adjustable bracket I'll need to cut a access hole in the aft deck in order to install a backing plate for the new mount. This would require the removal of at least some of the flotation, my plan for covering the access hole would be to install a oversized teak or mahogany deck lid over the access hole, something that would compliment the coaming boards and othe exterior wood on the boat.

    Thanks,
    George Poszich
     
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