Yacht Review: Alerion 41

Sep 30, 2014

Coastal cruiser relies on both classic design and updated technology

The Alerion 41 showing off a good turn of speed under sail.

The Alerion 41 showing off a good turn of speed under sail.

Courtesy Alerion Yachts

Yacht design has always been an evolutionary process and today’s modern designs are no exception. Just as Capt. Nat Herreshoff’s favorite daysailer, the classic 1912 Alerion, evolved with the addition of ballast, beam and overall length, U.S. Watercraft’s modern Alerion series continues to improve. The modern yacht’s roots, however, are still tied to the “Wizard of Bristol’s” timeless design.

The new Alerion 41 is a tribute to Alerion’s heritage. The boat combines performance, comfort, ease of handling, and classic design into a yacht that can serve its owner either as a casual daysailer or a fast coastal cruiser. The new Alerion 41 draws on the experience of the 650 modern Alerions that went before it.

For ease of sail handling, all lines are led aft to the cockpit with reversible electric winches all within an arms reach of the helm. An autoclaved carbon fiber mast with aluminum spreaders eliminates the need of a backstay and allows for a full roach mainsail to maximize speed and performance. The boat remains well-balanced even when reefed. The main boom is aluminum and rigged with a lazy jack system and a Hall QuikVang. A Leisure Furl system or Hall V-Boom are also options. 

The fractional rig includes a self-tacking jib with a gas spring extender system. 
 

Easy wing and wing
The headsail is self-tacking on an aluminum jib boom and incorporates a gas spring extender system that holds it out in light air, making wing and wing sailing possible without ever having to leave the cockpit. A Harken MKIV furler controls the headsail with all lines led aft under the deck to the starboard cockpit winch. Standard sails are North Norlam. There is an option for a light air cruising gennaker mounted on a removable bowsprit.

The cockpit is enormous and provides spacious, comfortable seating with the boom high and out of the way. A removable cockpit table allows for entertaining in the cockpit. A properly proportioned coaming offers security and with a comfortable backrest. The Edson helm pedestal is positioned at just the right height for maximum visibility over the low profile cabin trunk. An emergency tiller is located below the helm seat for easy access.  A unique folding transom with its integrated and concealed swim ladder and hot and cold shower fittings make boarding from a swim easy. On the fore deck, a concealed anchoring system can be deployed with the push of a button.

Fully equipped below decks
Below decks, the Alerion 41 is as well-appointed as it is above. The joinery is a choice of cherry, teak or traditional Herreshoff-style joinery. The trim is epoxy-laminated, cold-molded veneer and solid lumber. All joinery is finished in a varnish with satin sheen and high gloss accents. The hull ceilings match the interior joinery and are installed on the hull sides in the forward and main cabins. The overhead V-groove panel headliner has varnished wood accent strips between the panels. These panels are removable for access to the underside of the composite deck. The cabin sole is teak and holly with quarter turn fasteners securing the bilge access panels.

The interior layout is simple and open with a full galley to port. The galley is equipped with a Force 10 two-burner LPG stove, top access reefer in the galley counter, and a drawer style reefer in the aft galley bulkhead. Both refrigeration units are 12 VDC electric plates. The galley is equipped with twin stainless steel sinks.

Opposite the galley to starboard are a forward-facing nav station and an electrical panel. Port and starboard, fore and aft settees face a large centerline dining table with integral liquor storage.
 
The master cabin is immediately forward of the saloon and includes a full enclosed freshwater electric head with varnished teak vanity to port, hanging lockers and drawers to starboard and a large centerline queen berth with additional storage drawers underneath. Bookshelves and smaller lockers flank the berth port and starboard. The master cabin has a Lewmar high-polish finished opening aluminum deck skylight over the berth, one in forward cabin trunk and over the head to port and another to starboard. These hatches, along with an additional skylight over the saloon table, provide ample ventilation below.

For auxiliary power, the Alerion 41 is equipped with a 40-hp Yanmar diesel turning a saildrive and Gori folding propeller. The electrical system is 12 VDC/110 AC and includes a shore power receptacle, 50-amp battery charger, 1,500-watt inverter, high output engine alternator, and Lifeline AGM marine batteries. All interior and exterior lighting is LED and includes a foredeck flood and cockpit courtesy lights.

While the systems aboard the modern Alerion are complicated and numerous as compared to Capt. Nat’s Alerions, the two boats share a common simplicity when it comes to sailing, regardless of their size. They both are easily handled coastal cruisers, sure performers, and impressive works of marine art.

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