True North 38 Explorer — By Capt. Bill Pike — August 2002
|Part 2: The finish throughout is both well-executed and imaginative.|
But back to my docking experience. Because our slip was hemmed in on both sides by fishboats and somewhat obstructed by Billings' inflatable tender, the task of backing in seemed daunting at first, especially with the tide ebbing sideways to our direction of travel. Daunting...shmaunting! By simply spinning the 38 at the mouth of the slip with the thruster, centering the wheel, and easing astern while using the thruster to steer, I docked the boat without a hitch on the second try, having favored the side with the tender a little too much, on the first. Visibility was excellent all the way `round during the process, thanks to the large side windows and windshield as well as the absence of a cockpit bulkhead.
Taking the test gear off the single 440-hp Yanmar was a snap--the hatch in the sole between the galley and convertible dinette modules being fairly light and electric-ram-activated--but I did have some trouble detaching the power cable for the computer from the thruster/windlass battery. It's inconveniently located well outboard to port, with little clearance between it and the underside of the sole. Several savvy details presented themselves, however. I liked the 2.694:1 ratio in the ZF transmission, for example, a comparatively deep reduction that facilitates the use of a big, slow-moving prop for increased maneuvering traction and decreased vibration. I also liked the gutsy, top-notch electrical system that boasts a Batt Max battery combiner, Freedom 25 inverter, and two big, 8D Lifeline AGM house batteries.
And finally, I liked what I could see of the boat's construction--it seems both solid and advanced. To boost strength, cut weight, and ensure that the 38's Baltek AL600 end-grain coring is thoroughly saturated and impervious to water, Pearson uses infused-resin SCRIMP technology to create both hull and deck. Additional strength comes from using specific fabrics--everything from unidirectionals to quadaxial materials--for specific applications and installing an infused and primarily bonded stringer-transversal grid that stiffens the hull sides as well as the bottom. All through-hulls are isolated with solid glass as well, to nix water permeation, and the hull-to-deck joint is bonded with tough Plexus methacrylate adhesive.
Billings and I examined the layout of the 38 after I'd finished with the engine room. It's a straightforward arrangement, in keeping with Pearson's belief that people tend to hang out in or around the wheelhouse while cruising. Therefore, the galley (with a Frigoboat cold-plate "reefer" that'll run overnight on inverter power), dinette, and wheelhouse are combined on one level, with opening windows all around. Below decks, there's a V-berth, a head without a separate stall shower unfortunately, and not much more. The finish throughout is both well-executed and imaginative, with Corian-like Poly Stone fiberglass countertops, Alaskan yellow cedar ceiling planks sidelining the V-berth area, and lots of high-density cork paneling, added as much for its good looks as its sound-absorbent properties.
I wrapped up the test about noon. Billings promptly announced he and the Pearson True North 38 Explorer would be hitting the trail for New Orleans soon, perhaps within the hour. I helped him open the clamshell-type doors at the transom, slide the tender into the cockpit via a set of deck-mounted rollers, and otherwise get ready for the little ol' jaunt to the Big Easy. In keeping with the lunchy ambiance of the hour, and because my mind's almost always on food, I also recommended the barbecued shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro on Royal Street in the Quarter.
"A good boat," I explained, "calls for a good meal."
Pearson Yachts Phone: (401) 247-3000. Fax: (401) 247-4014. www.pearsonyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.