With humble beginnings in 1955, Pearson Yachts was started by cousins Clinton and Everett Pearson out of their garage in Rhode Island, building dinghies out of lightweight fiberglass. Although this method at the time was not yet proven, the men were approached by American Boat Building with an offer to build a sailboat.
Launching the First Pearson Yacht at the 1959 New York Boat Show
Together with naval architect Carl Alberg, the first boat, the Triton 28 was launched at the New York Boat Show in 1959, and by the end of the show, they had 17 orders for the boat. Due to the company’s growth, they expanded by purchasing an additional yard, where they introduced a number of new models also designed by Carl Alberg.
Growth Came Too Fast
The company grew to over 100 workers who were churning out about one boat per day, amazingly. The growth grew to be too quick for them, and led to cashflow issues, and although they tried to raise capital, they were unsuccessful. The Pearson cousins withdrew from the company in the 60s, when Grumman Allied Industries bough controlling interest in the yard, with Bill Shaw as the lead designer. Shaw introduced the notable Pearson 40 flush-deck in 1977 that did very well for the yard. Sadly, the yard failed and declared bankruptcy in 1991.