Daysailers are back. They’re not the low-cost, first-step, “let’s learn to sail” boats of the 1970s, but instead are elegant, classic-looking upscale little yachts for experienced skippers who have steadily moved up to cruisers over the years and now seek something simpler. The Alerion Express 33 fills a gap in that company’s line of 20- to 38-foot daysailers.
• The Alerion cockpit is exceptionally comfortable, with well-proportioned backrests and ergonomic seating positions.
• You need never go out on deck until you pick up your mooring because every sail control leads exactly where a singlehander would want it to be. An electric winch does all the heavy work.
• The boom is high enough to clear everybody seated in the cockpit, but low enough to reach for final sail flaking.
• The wheel is big enough to reach easily from either side of the helm station, but small enough to get around when moving forward or aft.
• Visibility and sight lines in all directions are outstanding.
• The cabin is small but efficient, with overnight accommodations in a V-berth, an enclosed head, and basic cooking facilities.
• Step belowdeck to enjoy the Herreshoff look of a century ago. White surfaces, teak trim, and solid-color fabrics with white piping are balanced harmoniously to create a classic ambiance.
• The plumbing and electrical systems are all of high quality, installed to the best standards. There are even gaskets and latches on the floorboards, something many cruising boats lack.
• Access to the Alerion’s engine is good, and there’s effective soundproofing to keep the noise level low while under way.
• The boat responds immediately to a touch on the helm without feeling squirrely or oversensitive. It tracks perfectly and is so well balanced it will sail straight indefinitely in smooth water without a hand on the wheel.
• In 5 to 6 knots of wind on Biscayne Bay, the boat effortlessly returned nearly 5 knots of boatspeed, with five adults lounging in the cockpit.
• We tacked in substantially less than 90 degrees with little loss of way and no jib trimming, thanks to the Hoyt jib boom.
• Downwind, the Hoyt boom steadied the jib whether we were on a broad reach or wing-and-wing.
• The electric winch provided ample power to raise and trim the big-roached mainsail. Lightweight or older sailors will have no trouble managing this boat.
The Alerion Express 33 is a highly refined statement of what a daysailer should be. In addition to excellent performance, quality construction, and effortless handling, it’s truly singlehander-friendly. Best of all, it’s sure to be the most beautiful vessel in most harbors.
Alerion Express 33
Price: $199,900 (base FOB Portsmouth, RI) not including sails or commissioning
Builder: Pearson Composites, Warren RI;
Designer: Garry Hoyt, Newport R&D;
Displacement 8,700 lbs
Ballast 3,300 lbs
Sail Area 443 sq ft
Power 20-hp Yanmar
Displacement-Length ratio 206
Sail Area-Displacement ratio 16