Everett Pearson: Fiberglass Pioneer, Boatbuilding Legend
Soundings|March 2018

Everett Pearson: Fiberglass Pioneer, Boatbuilding Legend

Kim Kavin

Everett Pearson was a fiberglass boat-building pioneer who co-founded Pearson Yachts and helped to launch the J/Boats sailboat brand. Pearson died Dec. 24, 2017, at the Hope Hospice Center in Providence, Rhode Island. He was 84.

Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1955 at Brown University, where he was captain of the football team. He and a cousin, Clinton Pearson, had a long history in business by then, having delivered groceries, sold Christmas trees and more during their younger entrepreneurial years. By the late 1950s, they were building fiberglass dinghies in a garage at a time when wooden hulls still ruled the day.

The pair got their official start in the boating business in 1959, after being approached to build a Carl Alberg design that would become known as the Triton 28. Everett Pearson borrowed $3,000 from a friend of his mother’s who owned a funeral home in Providence. “We took that money and paid $600 to get the boat into the New York Boat Show,” Pearson says in the 1999 book Heart of Glass: Fiberglass Boats and the Men Who Built Them.

Show-goers loved what they saw. On the strength of that show’s purchase orders — for 17 hulls — Pearson Yachts went public as a company a few months later, having turned the $3,000 loan into about $170,000 worth of revenue. The cousins bought the old Herreshoff yard in Bristol, Rhode Island, to start production. Cruising World magazine estimated sales for that year at $750,000 to $1 million, with virtually all of it based on the sheer volume of orders, as the Triton 28 sold to consumers for just $9,700.

By 1968, when the boat’s production run ceased, more than 700 Triton 28s had been built. Pearson Yachts turned out other sail and powerboat models, too, including the Electra, the Alberg 35 and a 38-foot William Tripp Jr. sloop called the Invicta, which became the first production fiberglass sailboat to win the Newport-Bermuda Race, in 1964.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

Q&A with Miami Dolphins Legend Richmond Webb

I was lucky enough to interview the legend, Richmond Webb. For those Dolphins fans who live under a rock, Webb is one of the greatest Miami Dolphins players ever and their greatest left tackle of all time.

10+ mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

To do list

GAME PLAN

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Putting the pieces together

Analyzing the 53-man roster

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

You're in Safe Hands with the Dolphins Safeties

After an off-season where the Miami Dolphins had daily drama surrounding who would be the quarterback, which coordinator was really calling the plays, and does their number one pick have a limp, went into Foxborough and did something they’ve only done once since 2008.

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Xavien Howard worth every penny

The Miami Dolphins were in the news daily during the offseason, but it was mainly regarding starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Head coach Brian Flores talks about the Raekwon Davis injury, beating New England Week 1, Tua Tagovailoa, Noah Igbinoghene and more

COACH SPEAK

9 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Offensive line an early season concern

PARTING SHOTS

1 min read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Jaylen Waddle is as advertised

The 2021 first-round pick has been a bright spot for the Dolphins

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Can Miami tackle their tackle issues?

The Miami Dolphins currently have a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 second-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, and a player who has started 56 games for them over the last four seasons to choose from at right and left tackle.

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

AROUND THE AFC EAST

The race for the AFC East crown gets started

2 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021