Alerion Express 38
It could be said that Garry Hoyt’s Alerion Express 28 was ahead of the “big daysailer” trend when it was launched in the early 1990s. I took his latest entry in this growing genre—the Alerion Express 38—for a test sail in light air off Newport, Rhode Island.
The boat is designed to excel in light air, and my test sail proved it was up to the task.
- Upwind speeds were 5 to 6 knots in barely 8 knots of wind. We tacked through 75 degrees.
- The helm was perfectly balanced with just the right amount of weather helm. The boat tracked beautifully. No problem taking my hands off the wheel for minutes at a time.
- The Hoyt Jib Boom with nonoverlapping headsail reduced tacking to simply turning the wheel.
- Off the wind, the jib boom helped keep the jib filled even when sailing by the lee, dead-downwind. With sails wing and wing boatspeed was 2 to 3 knots.
- Excellent light-air performance comes from the boat’s mainsail; it’s oversized, laminated, full-batten, heavily roached, and can be reefed easily. A tall (56-foot) painted carbon rig puts considerable sail area up where there is usually more breeze, and eliminating the backstay allows the large roach to tack around unencumbered.
- Both the main- and jibsheets run to powered winches on pods directly adjacent to the helm station. This allows for true singlehanded operation.
- With high seatbacks and deep, slightly angled seats, cockpit and helm-station comfort were excellent (however, a brace point running down the center of the cockpit could be beneficial).
- Several deep cockpit lockers provide excellent on-deck stowage for lines and fenders.
- The simplicity of the saloon’s teak-and-holly sole, white painted bulkheads, and open plan is all you need from a daysailer.
- Max headroom is just under 5 feet, 8 inches. It’s a good compromise between high freeboard and excessive stooping belowdecks.
- The galley is not big (limited counter and stowage space), but it has all you’d need for a weekend cruise.
- There’s room for four to sleep comfortably, but the space is better suited to lunch with friends or just stretching out on the long, straight berths in the saloon.
- There’s plenty of stowage space for a weekend cruise.
The boat is a joy to sail in light breezes. The cockpit layout is conducive to easy daysails, and the accommodations strike a good balance between minimal and comfortable.
Price: $313,616 (base, FOB Portsmouth, RI)
Contact: 401-247-3000, www.alerionexp.com
Design: Carl Schumacher & Pearson Design Group
LOA – 38'1"
LWL – 30'3"
Beam – 10'7"
Draft – 6"
Displacement – 13,000 lbs
Ballast – 6,000 lbs
Sail Area (main and jib) – 810 sq ft
Power – Yanmar 40-hp
Displacement-Length ratio – 210
Sail Area-Displacement ratio – 23.5