The Triton was introduced at the 1959 New York National Boat Show and was an immediate sales hit. An estimated seven hundred examples of this conservative, deep-water 28.5 foot auxiliary cruising sailboat were built between 1959 and 1967.
The Triton was designed by Carl Alberg, with a strong influence from Scandinavian sailboats such as the Folkboat and also the CCA race rules of the day. The Triton was first built by Pearson Yachts in Bristol, RI. Approximately 200 West Coast version Tritons were build under license by Aeromarine Plastics in Sausalito, CA. The east and west coast versions differ somewhat in a number of minor construction details while retaining the same basic hull shape. One obvious difference was an all-fiberglass coaming around the cockpit on the WC models versus a traditional wood coaming on the East Coast models. Early East Coast versions also featured cast bronze frames for all of the port windows. The West Coast boats had frameless ports. All were originally powered by a Universal Atomic 4 gasoline auxiliary engine.
Although the interior is narrow and spartan by modern boat standards, Tritons have gained a reputation for being safe, stable, ruggedly built boats and are still considered a good choice for a couple wishing to cruise on a small budget. In 2006, prices for Tritons range from US$500 for marginal fixer-uppers to about US$20,000 for a well-found boat with updated systems throughout. Noted single-handed sailor, James Baldwin, successfully circumnavigated his Triton "Atom" twice in the 1980s, and many Tritons have made numerous Pacific and Atlantic crossings.
Ballast: 3019 lb (Lead)
Sail Area (100%): 362 sq ft (33.6 m2)
Displacement: 6900 - 8000 lb. (Approx)*
- The actual displacement figure is not known precisely as Pearson did not weigh their boats and when one was finally weighed by Pearson after several years of production it was found to be approximately 1500 pounds heavier than expected. Most Tritons in cruising (fully loaded) displacement mode exceed 8000 lb and approach 9000 lb.
Related Vintage Sailboats
Other somewhat comparable boats in the "Plastic Classic" category (built before 1975?) include the Pearson Vanguard, Pearson renegade, Pearson Ariel, Alberg 30 and Alberg 35, Albin Vega and the Catalina 27.
- National Triton Association
- San Francisco Triton Association
- New England Triton Association
- Chesapeake Bay Triton Fleet