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Alerion Sport 33

2010 June 1

Back in the mid-1960s the Islander 36 set the standard for medium-sized boat interiors. Then the race was on to put more and more accommodations into production "racer-cruisers" or "cruiser-racers." A quick look at today's typical production 33-footer of that type will show you where that got us. All the comforts you had on shore were shoehorned into the boat-or at least tried. In the early 1990s the Alerion Express line was born with an idea to return us to simple boats designed for daysailing and short cruises with a minimum of complication and an optimization of performance. The trend was off and running. Today the term "daysailer" means more than a 17-foot Lightning class sloop. It generally means any boat under 50 feet designed to optimize comfort for afternoon sailing on protected or semi-protected waters.

Building off their previous series of Alerion Express models the designers at Pearson Marine have come up with this new series called the Sport series. The first in this line is the new Alerion Sport 33. The hull is identical to that of the Alerion Express 33 but weight has been taken out of the build with the result being a lighter, faster boat. The keel and rudder are also identical to the Express 33 model.

This is a very pretty boat. It looks good from every angle. The freeboard is low. There is shape in the ends coupled with modest overhangs. Beam is on the narrow side of moderate with an L/B of 3.57. Draft is modest with a fin and bulb keel drawing 5 feet. The D/L is 196, with 800 pounds taken off the original Alerion Express 33 displacement. This design has a nice spring to the sheer. The overall look reminds me of a few boats that I admired when I was young, including the Kettenburg 38, the Owens cutter and of course the Concordia yawls.

The deck for the Sport 33 is totally different from the Express 33. The cockpit is long and features only tiller steering. I was talking to a lady about her next boat and I suggested a boat that came with a tiller. A week later I got a letter from her telling me that she thought I was the type that would tell her to buy a car with a manual transmission too. Tillers are great on small boats. You feel every nuance of the boat's action through the tiller. It's the thermometer on the health of the boat at any given time. And you can hinge it up and get it completely out of the cockpit when you don't need it. The seats adjacent to the tiller are removable in this model, so someone could sit aft facing forward if they didn't mind the tiller cracking their knees during tacks and jibes.

There is a Barney post for the mainsheet in the cockpit and a traveler aft of the coaming. The mainsheet gross tune is at the Barney post and the Harken fine tune tackle is at the traveler. I have a similar arrangement on my own boat. I bought it because I thought the fine tune looked cool. I never use it. There is a well in the foredeck for ground tackle and a small hatch in the cabintop. The coamings wrap around forward along the cabin bulkhead to form line bins. This is a clever, useful and stylish detail and it will hide the lines that spill down from the cabintop winches.

There is a self-tacking jib track just forward of the mast but you also have the option of getting standard jib tracks on the deck if you want the ability to fly a jib with some overlap. If that's the case then you also get primary winches located on the coaming about halfway down the cockpit. The rig with an SA/D of 24.4 is pretty simple and this rig comes with a masthead asymmetrical chute and the option of overlapping headsails of small LP.

The interior is very simple but does have an enclosed head. It would be nice to have a rudimentary galley but it is not standard. Given the semi-custom nature of this shop I'm sure a small galley could be devised if you insisted on one.
With that small custom galley the Alerion Sport 33 would come pretty close to my ideal as the ultimate boat for me.

LOA 33; LWL 26'4"; Beam 9'3"; Draft 5'; Displacement 8,000 lbs.; Ballast 3,300 lbs.; Sail area 609 sq. ft.; SA/D 24.4; D/L 196; L/B 3.57; Auxiliary Yanmar 20-hp; Fuel 10 gals.; Water 8 gals.

Pearson Marine Group, P.O Box 328, 373 Market St., Warren, RI 02885, (401) 247-3000, www.alerionexp.com.

OBE: $199,900
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