A Deck Level View of the Pearson Commander

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Freeboard on the Commander is somewhat low (top), which sometimes makes for a wet, but exciting ride in bumpy conditions.

1. The generous cockpit featured on the Commander realistically seats six while under sail, but will accommodate more while at anchor with the tiller folded up. The cockpit is self-draining, but could use larger drains. Anyone with offshore aspirations will want to better seal the main hatch and lazarette.

2. If you need to move forward quickly in a seaway, perhaps to access the headsail, you will find the way there somewhat complicated. Shrouds occupy the narrow side decks, which necessitate shimmying sideways in- or outside them.

3. Try not to trip over one of the original bronze winches.

4. Like most well outboards, the one in the Pearson Commander requires an open hatch to ensure adequate air for proper operation.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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