The Pearson 424 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Pearson 424, and aft-cockpit masthead ketch, was designed by Wiiliam Shaw and built in the USA by Pearson Yachts. A centre-cockpit version was also produced which was known as the Pearson 422. The 424 was also available as a cutter.

A Pearson 424 ketch alongside a dock.A Pearson 424 ketch

Published Specification for the Pearson 424

Underwater Configuration: Fin keel and skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (fibreglass)

Length Overall: 42'4" (12.90m)

Waterline Length: 33'8" (10.26m)

Beam: 13'0" (3.96m)

Draft: 5'3" (1.60m)

Rig Type: Masthead ketch

Displacement: 21,000lb (9,525kg)

Designer: William Shaw

Builder: Pearson Yachts (USA)

Year First Built: 1978

Year Last Built: 1984

Number Built: 225

A Pearson 424 Ketch

'Sarah', a Pearson 424 Ketch for Sale

Although 'Sarah' is no longer available, the excellent pics and text of the original ad are retained here for the benefit of anyone researching this capable cruising boat.

Published Design Ratios for the Pearson 424 Ketch

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 15.3

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 36.4

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 246

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 30.0

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.9

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Pearson 424 Ketch

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of just 15.3 suggests that the Pearson 424 Ketch will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 36.4 means that unless the bulk of the ballast is concentrated in a bulb at the foot of her keel, the Pearson 424 Ketch will have a tendency to heel excessively in a gust, and she'll need to be reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze. 

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 246 tells us the Pearson 424 Ketch is a moderate displacement cruiser, which means she'll carry all your cruising gear without it having a dramatic effect on her performance. Most of today's sailboats intended for offshore cruising fall into this displacement category.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 30.0 suggests that crew comfort of a Pearson 424 Ketch in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of 

a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.9 tells us that a Pearson 424 Ketch would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 


Other sailboats in the Pearson range include:

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