View Full Version : Pearson Triton

10-21-2002, 01:47 PM
Yeah, it's FG, but I figure posting in the "Miscellenous" category gets me around that, besides it's 40 years old and fairly traditionally styled, and I can't pass up the opportunity to tap into this forum's cauldron of knowlege.

What can anyone tell me about the Pearson Triton 28? I have the opportunity to pick one up for cheap, and it's turning into a situation where it just might be the right boat at the right time.

I've been to the class association website, but I'm looking for some contrary opinions. Without getting into the wood vs. glass topic, can someone talk me out of this? Tell me she's a pig in light air. tell me the portlights leak like spigots. tell me about a similar boat that's much better suited to weekending with two adults and two dogs. tell me something the sellor won't!

[ 10-21-2002, 02:53 PM: Message edited by: Sailortect ]

Alan D. Hyde
10-21-2002, 01:51 PM
I thinks she's rated pretty well.

Built like a tank as I recall, solid glass up to over an inch think, no core?

There used to be one in Muskegon, and I liked her lines. Kind of like those of a smaller Alberg 35. But it's been many years, so my memory may be faulty...


10-21-2002, 01:52 PM
Sorry, cannot help. Have never seen one, but have always understood they are excellent boats. Try "Cruising World"; they covered her in their "classic plastic" series, and a query on their website might be productive.

Bill Dodson
10-21-2002, 02:17 PM
Triton #381 (http://www.triton381.com/)

Spend some time exploring this site. It nicely documents a restoration.

Scott Rosen
10-21-2002, 04:50 PM
Pearson Triton?! Hey, what's this post doing in here? This is for boat related stuff only.

Alan D. Hyde
10-21-2002, 04:52 PM
Well, looks like I was wrong about no core.

I'm thinking the hull is solid, no core, though...


10-21-2002, 10:07 PM


East Coast boats have wooden coamings and wooden trim. The California built boats are all plastic.

"West coast boats are built better than East Coast. The Sausalito bunch were much better boat builders than Pearson ever was. West Coast boats have no balsa in the decks. None. They're pure glass."

A major Sailing mag named Triton one of 10
"best buys"


Ian McColgin
10-22-2002, 09:28 AM
Tritons are honorary wooden boats.

Nice normal CCA style lines. Many have wandered the oceans in a safe seakindly manner.

Get her, fix her and love her.

Make a wooden dink with a removable transom that fits over the companion as a dodger so you can count as still a WB type.

Buddy Sharpton
10-22-2002, 12:28 PM
I always put Tritons on the same shelf as a Concordia Yawl, or a Hinckley 40. It's the smallest of the bunch, by a bunch but an eye pleasing yacht by a well known designer. These were overbuilt because nobody had yet much experience with fiberglass, resin and glass were cheap enough so why not use plenty, it was still going to be lighter than the same boat of wood and you could have maore ballast. It benefits from the builders' skepticism- bear tough. They are much roomer than a 22 or 24 foot boat that's for four people by todays standard. You'll get your money's worth out of her. I like gasoline inboards- use you blower and sniff before starting- and there's no odor at all, no the obnoxious odor of diesel that just permeates evrything. As long as you don't want a bigger boat, you'll not look longingly at another classic. You can't go wrong if traditional is what you're after. Like getting a Cape Dory( also designed by Alberg) and not having to pay the Cape Dory's premium "cult" price.

Tom Lathrop
10-22-2002, 12:53 PM
We owned a 1963 Alberg 30 from 1970 to 1975 which is almost identical to the Triton 28 except for the extra two feet and a masthead rig instead of the fractional with junper stays. Both are rugged boats built before the builders found how much they could save by making them with less material and cheaper resins. Both have the unmistakeable lines of a classic Alberg design. That is, they don't look like Chlorox bottles or hot tubs. When I sold mine, it had no blisters and no gel coat cracks.

They are small, heavy and slow for their length by today's standards. The Triton has been sailed around the globe so it won't fall apart easily.

If it fits you, buy it but be careful of the condition of the engine and such in case they need replacement. Replacing those things will cost more than you will probably have in the boat. There are many rigging items that may need replacement but most can be done by you at moderate cost.

All advice is for reference only and the user takes all responsibility for its applications.

10-22-2002, 01:35 PM
ah, you guys are KILLING ME here! so far, nobody's talking me out of anything!

"they're small, heavy, and slow for their length by today's standards"..... now that's more like it! let's hear more of that!

"honorary wooden boat" I like that. that would be a fun list to compile.

so far, my wife has the best argument against: "I thought we wanted something trailerable" and she's right, but still....

ps: I KNEW there had to be some closeted f-glass experts around here!

[ 10-22-2002, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: Sailortect ]

Jack Heinlen
10-22-2002, 01:52 PM

Almost enough to make ya can building a boat, ain't it!?

How about the systems? Engine, electrical?

Has the boat been checked for glass blisters?


Rudder mounts?

Thru hulls?


If balsa cored, the decks should be looked at with a jaundiced eye, especially around anything that is mounted on or penetrates the deck.

How much are they asking?


N. Scheuer
10-22-2002, 04:37 PM
On one occasion outside the harbor at New Buffalo Michigan many years ago a Triton caught up with, and passed my Dovekie in light air and smooth water.

Add up the dollars needed to refit (if necessary) and if the deal still makes sense, I'd go for it.

Moby Nick

10-22-2002, 04:55 PM
N Scheuer,

Yes whether the cost of refit fits the bill, is very much dependent on two things: the boat's condition, and its intended use.

Spongy decks, a rusty blob of an engine, bad electrics, a rig in need of renewal, hull blisters...the list goes on.

Most those things a boat of this type questions, whether wood or glass.

An example:

My brother had a Pearson Vanguard. Great boat, by most accounts. Designed by Phil Rhodes, CCA, 32 foot.

He sailed it to Hawaii and back, after many thousands in upgrades, and then decided to sell it when he got back.

Now there was a boat set up and ready to go. He sold it for under twenty, including the self-steering, and the rodes, and most of the anchors, and all of the rig upgrades, and all the other stuff that is in such a project.

What is something worth? He didn't sell in a panic, just needed to get rid of the boat.

I dunno, but I ask again, how much are they asking?

[ 10-22-2002, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

10-23-2002, 08:19 AM
Actually, I'm now looking at THREE tritons. It's amazing what one sees when one starts looking!

the lowest is 3000, but the engine needs rebuilding (not a problem). Others are 6000 (the one that first caught my eye) and 8000.

All three are fairly even in terms of sail inventory and hardware and rig condition and age. The difference in the price appears to be primarily dependant upon the amount of "TLC" needed to bring the gelcoat and woodwork back up to snuff. Upon initial look-see, there was no deck delamination on any of the three.

This may be the cheapskate in me rearing his ugly head, but at the moment I'm leaning toward the 3000. I think I need to sleep on this for another week.

possible stupid question: is it worth hiring a surveyor to inspect a $3000 28' boat? Having never dealt with one directly, I have no idea of what they typically charge.

Thanks for all feedback, fellas. You've been great.

Tom Lathrop
10-23-2002, 12:25 PM
Yes, it is worth the money to have a survey done on just about any boat you are contemplating buying. Just be sure to get a recommendation from someone who knows the surveyers that might be used. They can point out things that you or I might never think of and help you to detrmine how much work is ahead of you. Money spent on a good survey is the best insurance you can get.

I'm not a surveyer but do know a few.

10-23-2002, 12:31 PM
I agree - she is not going to stay a $3,000 boat! You will be putting money and effort into her.

Ring round local surveyors and find the one you like - then pick his brains. I would not hesitate to say "I am looking at three Tritons, I will definitely ask you to survey one of them for me, meanwhile can you help me to pick the right one - what weaknesses should I be looking for?"

David Tabor (sailordave)
10-23-2002, 10:14 PM
I sail a beat up old Triton in my sailing association. It's definitely seen better days and yet still is a nice boat under sail. Was out a few weeks ago in 11-12 knots and held a steady 6 knots boat speed verified by GPS!

Now what you want to look for is softness under the mast step. The beam under the coach roof often is cracked or sagging and may need to be reinforced.

If you can find the older models that are in Good shape they would be a good buy. Not a speed rocket but a good weekend boat. And I agree, it has such classic lines it should be an honorary Woodie! Good luck

10-24-2002, 02:02 AM
We sail a wooden Hinckley 21, which is nearly identical to the Triton. She is a John Alden design, but was actually drawn by Alberg when he worked in Alden's office in the 40's. The cabin is different, but the hull lines & dimensions look to be close to the same as the Triton. 30 years ago she took a couple to the Marquesas & back, and we had a hoot sailing her to Mexico & back from B.C.
Easy boat to sail. Great for a two hour daysail or a two year cruise if you don't mind going simple.

Dan McCosh
10-24-2002, 10:18 AM
The Triton has a loyal following, and actually has a pretty good race record as well. Think of it as a good boat in heavy air, rather than "slow". I've known several folks who love them. Only problem I've noted is the interior is awfully rough--they were delivered with raw fiberglass and no interior lining. This is an opportunity to finish it off in light cedar, and your guilt about F-b goes away.

10-27-2002, 09:16 AM
On behalf of Triton owners everywhere, I'd like to thank the folks on this group for the kind words about the boat, even though she's built of fiberglass. Being called an "honorary wooden boat" and compared with Concordias and Hinckleys is a treat indeed.

Alberg knew what he was doing. The boat sails well--at least as fast as any similar boat--and is sturdy and solid, and feels larger than she is as a result.

I like to think of the Triton as an excellent "canvas" for one to express themselves upon. Sure, many may be rough--but the possibilities are endless, given enough vision, time, and (of course) money.

Sailortect, why do you want to be talked out of buying one? The Triton makes a great boat for almost any use if you take care of the various problems that might exist, all of which are completely repairable. And you can have some fun in the process, adding appropriate amounts of wood trim (inside and out) to make the boat less of a cold 60s vintage shell and more of the warm, pseudo wooden boat you probably want!

Buy the $3000 one--in fact, you could (should?) probably offer less if the boat is really rough--and have some fun making her yours. 700 happy owners can't be all wrong...

Triton Owner and Closet Wooden Boat Fan
www.triton381.com (http://www.triton381.com)

D McNeil
10-27-2002, 01:21 PM
Sailortect, I add my appreciation to the group for calling the Triton an "honorary wooden boat" Like Tim Glissando, I am a Triton owner. My family has had our Triton for 40 years and I enjoy keeping her in proper sailing condition. I know you are looking for a unbiased view of the design and I think you have gotten some from the postings I've read. There is no perfect boat - all are the product of some type of compromise. She is not as fast as the newer light displacement boats in light airs but I would prefer her stout, sea kindly hull and rig to one of those "Winnebagos with a mast" when in a heavy seaway! I use my boat for weekending and more extensive cruising. There have been some that have circumnavigated our globe and do so handily. 2 adults and 2 dogs would fit nicely, I think (when I was a child we had 2 adults and 4 kids on ours! Now we sail with 2 adults and one child). I also have a trailer for my Triton. Most trailers I have heard about are going to cost you about $3,000 on up). I launch and step the mast (and, of course, the reverse) with just 2 people. It's not like launching a bass boat but it works well. Inventory your abilities and resources and choose the Triton that fits best (ok, the $3000 one). You will spend considerable time bringing her to bristol condition but will love every moment with her tiller in your hand!

Daniel McNeil
Triton owner/Wooden boat owner (Alden ketch undergoing resoration)

10-28-2002, 01:17 AM
I have a special fondness for Tritons. SWMBO and I honeymooned on one in 1967.

If you feel that you'll need a little more room, The Alberg 35 has all the virtues, and a slightly higher standard of finish. We owned one for 25 years.

Get a survey. If that's OK, you can't go far wrong.