vanguard insignia

PEARSON VANGUARD SPECIFICATIONS
LENGTH OVERALL 32' 9 1/2"(32'6 1/2"brochure)
LENGTH WATERLINE 22' 4"
BEAM 9' 3"
DRAFT 4' 6"
BALLAST 4250#
TOTAL DISPLACEMENT 10,300#(brochure)-12,600#(other documents)
SAIL AREA 241 SQ. FT.
(100% foretriangle, sloop) 196 SQ. FT.
total, sloop 437 SQ. FT.
total, yawl 470 SQ. FT.
C.C.A. Rating (sloop) 22.1
C.C.A. Rating (yawl) 22.2
PHRF Rating 216

A design by the famous naval architect, Philip Rhodes, the Vanguard was one of the early production fiberglass sailboats with approximately 404 hulls built between 1963 and 1967. Vanguards were hand laid up and completely bonded together during construction to make an extremely strong unit. The hull was molded of alternating layers of 1.5-oz. fiberglass mat and 24-oz. woven roving. All structural members and bulkheads were bonded in place before the hull left the mold so that stress would be transferred in all directions. The Vanguard was fitted with a Universal Atomic 4 30 horsepower gasoline engine, many of which are still in use today. Tankage for water and fuel was provided with monel tanks of 50 and 25 gallons respectively. During this same period of time Pearson built many similar sailboats such as the Alberg 35, Coaster, Ensign, Commander, and Triton. Built to the CCA racing rule of the 1960's, most of these designs feature long overhangs and a beautiful sheer.

The interior was quite roomy for its time, but by today's standards is surpassed by most sailboats of 28 feet.  The standard arrangement has a small galley aft and settees/berths port and starboard.  While there are berths available for six, in reality there is room for two or three adults or two adults and two children.  Headroom, even by today's standards, is excellent with about 6 foot, four inches headroom in the main cabin.

Originally the Vanguard came equipped with tiller steering, but many have been converted to a wheel.  Vanguards can be quite easily single handed and are very forgiving and stable boats, though they are initially a bit tender.  Many owners have added roller furling headsails which provide additional ease of sailing shorthanded and safety in a blow.  Other modifications which help shorthanded sailing include slab reefing, lazy jacks,  halyards led to the cockpit, and larger, self-tailing winches.

Philip Rhodes recommended adding about 500 lb. ballast to the Chesapeake 32 and Jeff Halpern, whose family owned #135 which was lost at Fort Totten on Long Island in November 1968, reports that Rhodes also recommended to his father in 1967 adding this trimming ballast  under the cabin sole in the head and in the sump below and behind the water tank.

Commentary on the Vanguard

While these boats were overbuilt, there are a few problem areas which bear watching:

  • soft spots on deck
  • hairline cracks in tiller head fitting
  • water seepage into keel
  • loose deck fittings (leading to deck delamination)

Rigging specifications for 1964 Vanguard from original documents:

Standing rigging: 1/4 x 1 x 19 x 36'11" stainless steel with 1/2 inch turnbuckle, 1/2 inch toggle


Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Frederick E. Fuller