More info on the Pearson Packet...

While reading Daniel Spurr's new book "Heart of Glass - Fiberglass Boats and the Men who Made Them", I came across the following information. Chapter 5, P. 93, is about Bill Tritt who started designing and building fiberglass boats in 1947. During the 1950's his company, Glasspar Corporation was probably the largest builder of fiberglass boats in the world, at its peak year 1959 grossing $12 million on 16,000 boats and employeeing 250 people. About 1960, after the company went public, Bill Tritt had a falling out with the corporate management and left Glasspar.

After leaving Glaspar, Tritt returned to the design and construction of small boats, forming a small company he called Hudson River Boat Company, and contracting himself out to other companies. "I started a little company doing tooling and design work -architectural things- I'd wanted to do for a long time," he said. "My first project was the 18-foot Hudson River Packet. Newport Harbor was the right place to sell it. I didn't want to get into production again, but did. we built about fifty of them. The boat was exhibited at the Chicago show and the controller for Grumman Aircraft saw it and fell in love. He bought the rights to it and Grumman began construction of it at the Pearson plant in Rhode Island in 1963. Almost immediately they started to cut corners; teak ply with a butt joint in the middle of the deck, things like that. They built some improperly and things broke."

"I also did three design jobs for Pearson - a 34-foot powerboat (Sunderland), a 19-foot sailboat called Endeavour, and the Petrel.

"By this time we had moved our residence and business to Santa Barbara. We continued building the Packet until we sold it to Pearson-Grumman. We built a 26-foot daysailer, the Monterey, which had a long, shallow keel with cast iron centerboard and the nely introduced marine version of the Wankel Rotary Engine mounted in the lazarette. Not a great idea. We also had a power launch version of the same hull."

There is a photograph on P.93 of the Packet with the following note: "Designed by Trit as reminiscent of the shallops found in Chappelle's American Small Sailing Craft, the Hudson River Packet was built as either a sloop or a launch."

The book photo of a Packet Launch, is a good shot of the stern quarter, is identical to the "Packet Stern Photo link below, which was sent to me by Jay Bliss. There is no question that these are the same boat.

On page 94 is a photo of the Tritt built 26' Monterey, which looks very much like the 20' Pearson Resolute, except the Resolute has a more or less square stern and the Monterey is a double ender. If you cut 6-foot off of the canoe stern Monterey it would be almost identical to the Resolute. In the quotes above Tritt says he "designed a 19-foot sailboat called Endeavour" for Pearson. I suspect Pearson renamed this boat the "Resolute". The Pearson Petrel referenced in the same quote above, is shown as being produced by Pearson in 1962 in the 25 year anniversary brochure.