Boat Review: Alerion Sport 30
There are many ways to go yachting, and some of the most civilized involve leisurely afternoons spent aboard a daysailer with classic lines, varnished teak and graceful deck overhangs. Alerion has long understood this, which is why its models exude a kind of Golden Age elegance that harkens back to the time of blue blazers and sailor caps. More recently, however, the company has also stepped up its game by creating a faster, lighter, technology-laden 30-footer that combines yachtie style with performance-enhancing weight-savings to deliver an experience that may be called yachting on steroids.
To this end, the Alerion Sport 30 has a vinylester-infused hull and a deck with a foam core, which is combined with a carbon fiber structural grid to keep the construction light but stiff. The cockpit is bisected by an enormous racing-style wheel trimmed in teak, and there is a giant lazarette under the aft deck that can hold fenders, lines and maybe an ice bucket to be used later. The 5ft-draft keel with a bulb provides a 41 percent ballast-to-displacement ratio, so she’s no pushover.
The boat is easy to sail, too, with a 98 percent self-tacking jib on a curved track ahead of the mast on a Harken belowdeck furler. The Hall carbon fiber spar has double spreaders and no fixed backstay, while a must-have add-on is an asymmetrical spinnaker on a top-down furler that attaches to the optional carbon bowsprit. Twin Harken primaries on pads are within reach of the helm, and the main halyard and traveler control lines lead through the cockpit coaming to the wheel. Combined with a double-ended mainsheet and a full-roach mainsail, the Alerion Sport 30 is easy to singlehand, making it perfect for those summer afternoons when you don’t have (or don’t want) crew to enjoy a sunset sail.
Belowdecks, this “daysailer” has a compact but functional interior with a wood-topped cooler that serves as a galley icebox as well as the single step down from the cockpit. Port and starboard settees provide seating, and the V-berth has a cozy bed for two with a plumbed manual head below. In between is a split galley of sorts with a Corian countertop, a single-burner Kenyon alcohol stove to starboard and a sink and foot pump to port. With 16gal of freshwater, there would be no showers, but a couple could spend a few days in a remote anchorage with something better to eat than ramen noodles.
Our test boat was equipped with the optional electric auxiliary power by Oceanvolt. Not only is it quiet and fume-free, it’s more ecofriendly and can be used on lakes that don’t allow traditional gas or diesel propulsion. We motored out of Back Creek onto Chesapeake Bay at 5.9 kW and 6.3 knots on flat water at wide-open throttle. The display said we’d be able to motor at this pace for one hour and nine minutes. Cutting down to 5.2 kW and 5.8 knots doubled our time to two hours and 18 minutes. It’s a $13,000 option, but then, what price do you put on quiet?
A tepid 6-knot breeze met us on the bay, so we unfurled the bright red Code 0 and quickly picked up speed to 4 knots at 90 degrees apparent. Upwind and under the traditional mainsail and self-tacking jib, the Alerion happily tacked through 80 degrees. It was nice to actually be sailing while the other boats around us bobbed in our wake.
The Alerion Sport 30 has a classic appeal, is easy to sail and will turn heads in a race or anchorage. It’s yachting at its lightest. No blue blazer required.
LOA 30ft 1in
LWL 24ft 5in
Beam 8ft 9in
Sail Area 465ft2
Fuel/Water (GAL) 18/16
Engine Yanmar 12hp with saildrive
SA/D Ratio 21
D/L Ratio 197
Ballast Ratio 41
Designer Langan Design Partners
Builder US Watercarft, Warren, RI, 401-247-3000, alerionyachts.com
Price $236,500 (sailaway) at time of publication.