Old Pearson Factory

signal charlie

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I was invited to Bristol to give a talk at Herreshoff Marine Museum on the Navy Curtiss Flying Boat NC-4, Herreshoff built the hull that made the first transatlantic flight in 1919. While I was there I tracked down internet buddy Louis Sauzedde, he is working on an amazing adaptation of the Alden 270 schooner, a 43 foot cruiser. Found him in the back shop area of Fatties Garage, secretly building a boat with laminated stems, transom and keel, UMHW frames, diagonal strip and carvel planking. He has other folks shaking their head, very creative materials, building a strong boat that will last. Later I was told that the building they were in was the old Pearson shop. Also learned that a lot of the Sunfish building happened here, before it wandered to Portsmouth. Interesting trip.



Lou's rolling bevel circular saw.



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It's something that new boats are still being constructed in this fashion. A while back, I worked in a yard that restored wooden power boats of that size. Total custom man hours, fitting each piece. Hauling, blocking, and launching is another lengthy topic...letting the wood swell, blocking the keel line every two feet.....etc


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I worked at Pearson Yachts in 1985. They were located off West Shore Rd in Portsmouth. When they bought Sunfish, that is where they built them. Pearson yachts built sailboats and some powerboats. They should not be confused with Tillotson-Pearson which is in Warren and original built the J24's and other stuff such as windmill blades. When Pearson Yachts went out of business, Sunfish/Laser, Vanguard kept production in Portsmouth or surrounding area, however at a different location. When under LaserPerformance ownership they were still built in Portsmouth but at an industrial park on High Point Ave. They had a retail store there as well. Then construction went to China and LaserPerformance moved to CT.