Alerion Sport 33

When Garry Hoyt began thinking about a new 28-footer, he wanted to avoid the two things he felt were keeping sailors from spending more time on the water. The first was an overly complex sailplan. 
Author:
Publish date:
Alerion33

When Garry Hoyt began thinking about a new 28-footer, he wanted to avoid the two things he felt were keeping sailors from spending more time on the water. The first was an overly complex sailplan. The second was a boat that required a lot of crew to sail. He called the result of that thinking the Alerion Express 28. It’s a boat that can be sailed easily by one person in pretty much any conditions. Almost 350 of them have been built. A 33- and 38-footer of a similar pedigree followed.

In a somewhat ironic turn of events, though, the boats’ fine sailing abilities have prompted many of their owners to start racing at the club level. Inevitably many of them began to modify their headsail and deck layouts to squeeze out a little more performance. Of course, when improved performance becomes a focus on boats this size, it’s almost a sure bet that more than one person will be aboard to help out. While some might call it an unintended consequence of the original idea, the results have been happy for everyone involved.

It’s also why Pearson Design Group has complemented the original Express 33 line with a new performance-oriented “Sport” version. I went aboard hull #1, built for a former successful grand prix owner who had campaigned many 50 footers, on a beautiful fall day last September.

Although the Sport 33 hull is identical to the balsa-cored Express 33, the deck configuration is new and weighs almost 700 pounds less. A tiller also replaces the wheel that dominates the back of the Express cockpit. This means the helmsman can sit farther forward in the cockpit and the seating benches on either side of the rudder post can be removed to open up the area for strategists, trimmers or friends.

The boat’s self-tacking roller furling jib profile remains, but the Hoyt boom, which is standard on the Express 33, has been replaced by a curved traveler track just forward of the carbon mast and a jibsheet with both coarse and fine tuning for fingertip control. Overlapping headsails are also available.

All lines are within easy reach of the helmsman, and spacious line boxes molded in at the forward end of the cockpit not only hold the winch handles but effortlessly swallow all control-line tails.

Belowdecks, things are much the same aboard the Sport model as they are on the Express 33, including the signature full-length 6ft 4in V-berth forward. One nice improvement is a redesigned anchor storage area that no longer intrudes into the V-berth area. There’s also a new dedicated wet locker in the head area for hanging up foul weather gear.

All the cruising basics, including sink, stove, refrigerator and trash can, remain. A 20hp Yanmar diesel with sail drive powers the boat at 7 knots whenever getting home at a given time becomes a priority.

Tiller steering is always a joy, and in a 10-12 knot northwesterly breeze, the boat frolicked under full main and jib. Tacking was quick and effortless, and the 33 powered up quickly on each new tack at very impressive close-hauled angles.

Putting the coarse and fine-tune control lines to work produced almost instant positive feedback from the optional Tacktick displays mounted at the base of the mast. While it would have been nice to set the optional asymmetric spinnaker, the sail was back on the dock, and wishing it were onboard wasn’t going to change things. Oh well, now I had a reason to come back.

LOA 33ft // LWL 26ft 4in
BEAM 9ft 3in // DRAFT 5ft
DISPLACEMENT 8,000lb // BALLAST 3,300lb
SAIL AREA 609ft2
FUEL/WATER (GAL) 18/16
ENGINE 20hp Yanmar diesel/Saildrive
DESIGNER Pearson Design Group
BUILDER Alerion Express, Warren, RI, 401-247-3000
PRICE $200,000 base boat (FOB Warren, RI)

Related

7261ab1f-6891-424f-a22f-14c946c08ba8

Gear: Fusion Panel-Stereo

Plug & Play StereoIt can be a real pain to install a marine stereo inside a boat, what with the tiresome business of running cables through cramped spaces and finding somewhere sensible to locate the speakers. The audiophiles at Fusion thought about this and came up with the ...read more

2019BestBoatsPromo-04

Best Boats 2019

Some years ago, the book Aak to Zumbra catalogued—and celebrated—the incredible diversity of watercraft that has evolved over the centuries, a diversity that remains evident to this day in the 11 winners comprising the “Class of 2019” in SAIL’s Best Boats contest. Indeed, it ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comGuaranteed result What you see on the end of this halyard isn’t a beautiful Flemish Eye worked by a rigger, but it will make a big difference when you have to “mouse” a line through the mast. If the ...read more

dometicadler-700x

How to: Upgrading Your Icebox

The time has come when the prospect of cold drinks and long-term food storage has you thinking about upgrading your icebox to DC-powered refrigeration. Duncan Kent has been there and done that, and has some adviceFresh food must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of 40 degrees ...read more

Jet-in-Belize

Cruising: Evolution of a Dream

There’s a time to go cruising and a time to stop. As Chris DiCroce found, you don’t always get to choose those timesAlbert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, ...read more

01a-rosemary-anchored-at-Qooqqut,-inland-from-Nuuk

Cruising: A Passage to Greenland

When a former winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race invites you to sail the Northwest Passage, there is only one sensible answer. No.More adventurous types might disagree, but they weren’t the ones facing frostbite of the lungs or the possibility of having the yacht’s hull ...read more