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The Pearson Era


Starting in a garage, cousins Clinton and Everett Pearson initiated an era in yachting history

By Steve Mitchell

It's a familiar story to sailing buffs. The Pearson cousins, Clinton and Everett, began the modern era of fiberglass production sailboats at the New York Boat Show, in January 1959, with the introduction of the Carl Alberg-designed Triton. They sold 17 of those 28-foot boats at the show, and "it started us chasing money," says Clinton. Indeed, that one show put the fledgling company on the map and in solid financial shape, but this well-known story reveals only part of the roots of Pearson Yachts.

"The Navy ROTC sent me to Brown University," says Clinton, "so after I graduated, I had to serve three years of active duty on the destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy. This was from 1952 to 1955. While on the Kennedy, I built a small model for an 8-foot fiberglass dinghy. Later, I built a mold for the dinghy in my father's garage. I started the company in May 1955 with the $2,000 I received when I left the Navy."

Clinton tried making the dinghies using a vacuum process. "But I had no luck with it after six or seven attempts. So I started making them from mat and resin in a lay-up in the garage."   more...


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