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|Fate||Sold in Bankruptcy|
|Founded||Bristol, Rhode Island, United States (1956 )|
|Headquarters||Portsmouth, Rhode Island, United States|
|Parent||Grumman Allied Industries|
Pearson Yachts was a leading manufacturer of fiberglass sailboats from the late 1950s until the late 1980s. Pearson Yachts was founded by cousins Clinton and Everett Pearson, in a small garage located in Seekonk, MA in 1956. The company was one of the earliest fiberglass sailboat manufacturers. Carl Alberg designed Triton 28 that was launched at the New York Boat Show in January 1959 which began the modern era of fiberglass sailboat production. They experienced tremendous growth through the 1960s and 1970s producing a wide array of sail boats most of them designed by Bill Shaw. For nearly 50 years, Pearson Yachts built premium-branded sailboats. After changing ownership throughout the 1980s, Pearson Yachts was sold in the bankruptcy of Grumman Allied Industries in 1991. At that time, TPI purchased the rights to the Pearson Yachts name and currently USWatercraft formerly known as The Pearson Marine Group holds rights to the name.
In 1955, cousins Clinton and Everett Pearson began building fiberglass dinghies in their garage on County Street in Seekonk, MA, just over the MA/RI state line. The fiberglass material and the methods of construction that the cousins were using was brand new and untested. However, Tom Potter from American Boat Building approached the Pearson cousins with a project to build an auxiliary sail boat that would sell for under $10,000. Naval architect Carl Alberg was given the task of designing the boat. The result was the 28' Triton 28 Sailing Auxiliary. The first boat was built in the cousins garage, in time for the 1959 New York Boat Show.
In 1959, the Triton 28 was launched at the New York Boat Show. The cousins had to borrow money to pay for the transport of the boat from their garage to the show. The boat proved to be a hit and the cousins had deposits for 17 orders by the end of the show. To raise the capital to acquire facilities to meet the demand of these new orders the cousins made Pearson Yachts Public in April 1959. Upon returning to Rhode Island, Triton 28 sales remained strong enough that the cousins purchased the old Herreshoff Yard to expand production site. Pearson Yachts introduced a number of new models most of which were also designed by Carl Alberg. By the end of the year, the newly founded Pearson Yachts had over one hundred employees and was turning out nearly one boat per day. This rapid corporate expansion led to cash flow problems for the cousins. Pearson Yachts attempted to get approval for an additional stock offering, to raise much need capital, but were unsuccessful.
Grumman Takeover 1961 - 1964
In 1961, Pearson Yachts caught the interest of Grumman Allied Industries. Grumman, who was interested in gaining a stake in the rapidly developing fiberglass technology, purchased a controlling interest in Pearson Yachts from the cousins. Pearson Yachts received a capital infusion that brought financial stability to the company. They continued to experience steady growth under the Grumman umbrella.
William Shaw at the Helm 1964 - 1986
The End 1986-1990
Pearson filed for bankruptcy in 1991. At that time TPI Composites, formerly known as Tillotson-Pearson, purchased the rights to the Pearson Yachts brand name. As of 2001, old Pearson molds laid abandoned at the former Portsmouth, Rhode Island yard.
- Mitchell, Steve (November–December 1999), "The Pearson Era: Starting in a garage, cousins Clinton and Everett Pearson initiated a new era in yachting history", Good Old Boat
- Kretschmer, John, The Best Used Boat Notebook
- "Designers Bill Shaw", Sailor Magazine, August 15, 1985: 6
- Chip Lawson (September 2001), "Classic Plastic: Smooth Operator", Cruising World: 124
- PearsonInfo.NetOwners, pearsoninfo.net, retrieved 2010-04-17