Eight Bells: Everett Pearson

Published on December 28th, 2017

Everett Pearson

Here’s a life to really celebrate! Neither I, nor J/Boats, nor sailing in America would be where we are without him. Everett Pearson may be the grandfather of production auxiliary fiberglass boatbuilding, selling 17 Pearson Tritons at the 1959 New York Boat Show. But, he was Rod’s and my third brother that made J/Boats happen.

Rod had a design, I had $20,000 and a marketing plan, but it was Everett investing in the tooling and start up costs at two plants in Fall River MA and Warren RI, starting from scratch in 1977, to be building 36-J/24’s per week by May ’78.

Everett was “all into” what he believed, racing the boats he built, continually looking for new ways to build them. J/80 was one of the first built with the “SCRIMP” process.

He loved a challenge. Most memorable was when a J/130 was T-boned by a 95 footer during a NYYC regatta, with a big v-shaped wedge carved through the topsides all the way to the cockpit. Back in the harbor, after racing his J/120, he hopped on the damaged boat (this was Tuesday PM with Wednesday a layday), got his shop foreman to start laying up new pieces of the damaged sections of hull and deck that night. The J/130 was on the NYYC starting line for the very next race on Thursday, like nothing had happened. Amazing!

A “can-do” inspirational leader and team player. To appreciate the impact Everett had on sailing in America, consider this: Of 26 boats in the American Sailboat Hall of Fame, Everett built 5 them. The Triton, Ensign, J/24, J/35, and Freedom 40. Doubtful anyone will ever match that. Bon Voyage, my friend. Thanks for the ride! Save me a place on your crew up there. – Bob Johnstone

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