The Pearson 30 was designed as a family cruiser and daysailer with a good turn of speed. The boat is actively raced throughout the country, however, with some holding IOR certificates, and many more racing in PHRF, MORC, and one-design fleets.
The Pearson 35 was introduced in 1968 and remained in production for the next 14 years. In all, 514 P35s were built, almost all for East Coast and Great Lakes owners attracted by the 35's shoal draft (3' 9" with centerboard up) and "classic" proportions. Even the popular Pearson 30, usually heralded as the enduring boat from a builder otherwise noted for its frequent introductions of new boats and short production runs, remained in production only 10 years, albeit with almost 1,200 boats built.
The entire Catalina line is extremely popular with new boat dealers, who are required by Catalina to represent other lines as well. Usually, the Catalina line is priced about 5% lower than a comparably equipped boat of the same size and type from other manufacturers.
The Triton is vintage Alberg--skinny, long overhangs, low freeboard, large mainsail and small foretriangle. Typical of boats designed to the CCA (Cruising Club of America) rule. Alberg was born in Sweden where people love skinny keelboats with long overhangs, such as the Folkboat. It is easy to trace the Triton's lineage to such designs. Credit is also due to Tom Potter, of Jamestown, Rhode Island, who brought the project idea to the Pearsons, and had a hand in its development.
Catalina Yachts has carved a reputation in the production boat world by producing yachts that make owner feedback sound like a mantra. Typical comments are, "They provide real value for the dollar," "This is not a Swan," "A lot of boat for the money," or, "They sail well enough, considering that most owners are cruisers."
The Vanguard, designed by Philip Rhodes in 1962, remained in production until 1967, totalling 404 hulls. It was preceded by the Invicta, Alberg 35, Bounty II, Ariel, Rhodes 41, and of course the Triton. This line of fiberglass cruisers and sometime racers gave Pearson a strong position in the market. The pedigree of the designers was odorless, and construction quality was good for that particular moment in the timetable of plastic boatbuilding technology.
It doesn't take a lot of brains to see that Catalina is doing something right that a lot of other sailboat makers aren't. They're the largest sailboat builder in the country, and a terrible year for them would be Valhalla for almost every other manufacturer. With more than 1,000 built in seven years, the Catalina 34 has to be in the running as the most successful production boat of the 1980s.
While we wouldn't consider the Tartan Ten to be one of the better-built racers, she doesn't have to be. Since she is primarily intended to race against her sisters, consistency between boats is perhaps more important than superior (and hence, more expensive) construction. The major construction criterion she must meet is to be sufficiently seaworthy to endure an occasional short offshore race. She meets this criterion, although, like too many production boats, she barely makes it.
The Columbia 36 was in production between 1967 and 1972. One reader estimates that more than 600 were built, making it a very successful model. The Columbia 36 was a pretty slick looking boat in its day, and though its lines have worn reasonably well with time, we're reluctant to call it a "classic."