Pearson 26 Community

For Owners and Enthusiasts

About the P26 Sailboat

Pearson 26 Sailing

The Pearson 26 is one of Pearson Yacht's most successful models. A Bill Shaw design, it was first available in 1970 and quickly became another best seller. When the Pearson 26 was unveiled at the 1970 New York Boat Show, its designer, Bill Shaw, said, "Providing ample headroom without making a 26–footer look like a layer cake is one of the challenging design aspects of a boat this size. It looks like we’ve solved the problem, and proven that speed, ability, and accommodations, can in fact, go hand in hand". By the time Pearson took the boat off line in 1983 more than 1700 had been launched. Another 400 or so were built to a slightly modified deck design known first as the Weekender and later as the P26 One-Design, which was 200 pounds lighter but provided only five feet of headroom in the cabin.

This modest coastal cruiser is a masthead sloop with a swept back cast iron fin keel and four feet of draft that provides for stiffness in a breeze. The spade hung rudder is also swept back and runs through the cockpit with tiller steering (check rudder bearings on used boats). The hull is solid fiberglass with a balsa cored deck. The boat has a motor well on the stern and is easily run with a 10hp long shaft auxillary outboard. She’s got a bright, airy cabin with four fixed ports, and room for "the whole gang". The Person 26 looks like a yacht on the outside and feels like a yacht on the inside.

Here you will find original P26 specifications; "theBoat" commentary from Bill Shaw, the designer; and other P26 Resources. We recommend that all P26 owners register for the Captains Forum to access the P26 boat registry and bulletin boards.

Pearson 26 – By The Numbers


LOA (Overall Length) 26.17' [7.98 m]
LWL (Waterline Length) 21.67' [6.61 m]
Beam 8.67' [3.12 m]
Draft 4.0' [1.22 m]
Displacement 5,400 lbs** [2449 kg]
Ballast 2,200 lbs [998 kg]
Sail Area 321.78 sq ft [44.4 m²]
Mast Height (above D.W.L.) 35.16' [10.72 m]
Cockpit Length 8' 11"
Auxillary Power Outboard
Foretriangle Area 184.28 sq ft
Mainsail Area 137.5 sq ft
I – Foretriangle Height 31.5'
J – Foretriangle Base 11.7'
P – Mainsail Hoist 27.5'
E – Mainsail Foot 10.0'
*approximations from Pearson Yachts
**5200 lbs for One-Design Model

Technical Data

Designer Bill Shaw
Years Built 1970 – 1983
Hull Speed 6.24 kn
SA/D – Sail Area to Displacement 16.74
DLR or D/L – Displacement to Length Ratio 237
BR – Ballast Ratio 40.75%
L/B – Length to Ballast 2.99
LWL/B – Waterline Length to Ballast 2.48
OR – Overhang Ratio 21%
CSF – Capsize Screening Formula 1.99
MCR – Motion Comfort Ratio 19.95
M/F – Main to Foretriangle Ratio 184
PHRF (avg) – Performance Handicap Rating 210 and up
Pearson 26 Sailing


For some time now I've been wondering why there are no boats designed to appeal to the one design racer and the day sailor who's ready for cruising accomodations. The sailor I'm talking about is that type who doesn't want to give up round-the-buoy racing or have quick after supper before sundown sails.
I figured there are hundreds of good sailors out there who can't afford a full blown cruising boat or don't want one because of the nature of the sailing they do. You know what I mean... probably day sailing, a few overnights, and a schedule of club racing. This kind of activity doesn't call for an expensive boat with all the amentities of an offshore cruiser. Rather it calls for a nice compromise between a performance one-design and an easily managed family cruiser... a beautifully finished boat with a big cockpit and low profile that still sleeps four and has provisions for a head and a galley.
So I took our proven Pearson 26 hull, gave her a new deck, moved the shrouds inbound for closer sheeting and wallah… I had the perfect boat. Its everthing you need at a desireable price. Give the Pearson 26 OD some thought. Mention it to your friends at the club, start a fleet, Come Sail With Us…
Bill Shaw signature

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Pearson 26 Sailing

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