Built in 1980, a William Shaw design at his best. The Pearson 365 is an affordable, well-built, rugged cruiser ideal for a couple planning to sail the U.S. coasts, the Bahamas and the Caribbean where its shoal-draft keel makes possible exploration of coves and inlets dotted with coral heads.
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Bill Shaw had a practical appreciation for sailboats, designing boats with traditional lines capable of cruising chest-deep coastal waters and crossing the open sea. He began his career working for 12 years alongside legendary naval architect Olin Stephens as part of the team at Sparkman & Stephens in New York. He then joined Pearson Yachts as its chief designer and would ultimately give the recreational sailing world some of its most popular boats, including the Pearson 26, Pearson 30 and the Pearson 365.
"The 365 is my personal idea of what a boat should be," the late Shaw once told colleagues, referring to the Pearson 365 ketch, a 36-footer with shoal-draft keel, masthead rig and skeg-hung rudder. Shaw, who remained at Pearson until 1991 and died in 2006, said a 36-foot hull provided him with room to add luxury features rather than sacrifice them for lack of space or, worse, modify the boat's appearance to accommodate such comforts.
"At that size I can put absolutely everything in the boat that I want and not get into a this or that situation. The split rig makes shortening sail a cinch. The bulwarks make wandering around on deck more comfortable. The fully enclosed shower provides all kinds of niceties," Shaw said.
Between 1976 and 1982, Pearson Yachts built 405 Pearson 365s. Although a few were sloops, cutters or pilothouse models, the vast majority were designed with ketch rigs. Interestingly, the P365 was followed by the Pearson 37, a boat the project team dubbed the condo boat, because it had so much space for amenities.
Traditional lines, solid construction, roomy 8-foot-long cockpit and walk-around decks are what come to mind when a Pearson 365 pulls alongside the dock. With the exception of toerail, handrails and coamings, there isn't a lot of wood trim on deck. The boat is beamy, suggesting plenty of interior space. The masts aren't too tall, so the boat can clear bridges where other yachts of the same size might not. However, the ketch rig can translate to additional maintenance because two masts and two booms are more responsibility. On the up side, the rig allows use of multiple, smaller sails that should be easier to tame.
The cockpit is 8 feet long and big enough for a crew of seven. The decks are wide, making it safe and easy to walk around. Dorades and ventilation hatches channel fresh air below. Tall coamings define the cockpit and afford protection from the elements, as does the canvas dodger.
The helm station allows adequate forward sight lines. The shrouds fasten near the toe-rail, so there's no need to lean precariously around them when going forward for a sail change. A locker secures the alcohol fuel or propane tanks. Two cockpit lockers hold sail bags and other bulky gear.
The saloon has 6 feet 3 inches of headroom. Features include a nav station with chart table, a hanging locker, twin settees for sleeping four persons,a pilot berth, a wood burning stove, and a cabin with V-berth forward for two others. A galley near the companionway is fitted with a 3-burner stove and oven, single-basin stainless steel sink, icebox, cabinet storage and adequate counter space.
The head has a sink, toilet and separate shower stall. The freshwater tank holds 150 gallons. A hot water heater makes the shower more inviting. The bulkheads and sole are white, with wooden inspection plates.
The Pearson 365 was fitted with a 42-horsepower diesel engine paired with a 50-gallon fuel tank. The engine model was a marinized Westerbeke, powerful enough to move the hull in most sea conditions.
The Pearson 365 is an affordable, well-built, rugged cruiser ideal for a couple planning to sail the U.S. coasts, the Bahamas and the Caribbean where its shoal-draft keel makes possible exploration of coves and inlets dotted with coral heads.
The Pearson 365 benefits from the materials of the day, including near impervious hand-laid-up fiberglass that ensured the hull and deck were rugged enough to withstand the elements. The keel is well-ballasted with 7,300 pounds of lead, a material most marine surveyors agree is far superior to iron. The skeg-hung rudder pairs nicely with the shallow keel for maneuverability.
Thanks to the shape and thickness of the hull, owners contend the yacht could easily withstand a minor impact. A solid bulkhead separates the cabin from the engine area aft, providing noise reduction and a measure of safety. The P365 hull is solid fiberglass and built with a liner that provides some insulation but can complicate hull repairs and make it more difficult to find leaks. The deck, coachroof and hatches are a sandwich of balsa between fiberglass. The hull-to-deck joints have raised some concerns because screws rather than bolts were used to make the connection. The tabbing is glassed over for additional strength.
Although Pearson-built yachts of this age are respected for their soundness, some owners contend the finish work leaves something to be desired. Drew Sorrell, an owner in South Carolina, described facing "crooked corners, jagged fiberglass edges and open-top bulkheads" during a major refit, but found no fault with the hull and deck lay-up. He eventually completed a 21-day, 3,000-mile Pacific crossing.
290 Yacht Club Drive
Niceville, FL 32578-7122