Review of Alerion

Basic specs.

sail specifications
The Alerion is a sailboat designed by the American maritime architect Nathanael Greene Herreshoff in the second decade of 1900. The Alerion is built by the American yard Herreshoff Manufacturing Co..

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The hull is made of wood.


The boat equipped with a fractional rig. A fractional rig has smaller headsails which make tacking easier, which is an advantage for cruisers and racers, of course. The downside is that having the wind from behind often requires a genaker or a spinnaker for optimal speed.


The Alerion is equipped with a centerboard keel. A centerboard keel is a pivoting lifting keel, allowing to sail both coastal and inland waters.

The boat can enter even shallow marinas as the draft is just about 0.74 - 0.84 meter (2.43 - 2.73 ft) dependent on the load. See immersion rate below.

Sailing characteristics

This section covers widely used rules of thumb to describe the sailing characteristics. Please note that even though the calculations are correct, the interpretation of the results might not be valid for extreme boats.

Stability and Safety

What is Capsize Screening Formula (CSF)?

The capsize screening value for Alerion is 1.67, indicating that this boat could - if evaluated by this formula alone - be accepted to participate in ocean races.

Theoretical Maximum Hull Speed

What is Theoretical Maximum Hull Speed?

The theoretical maximal speed of a displacement boat of this length is 6.2 knots. The term "Theoretical Maximum Hull Speed" is widely used even though a boat can sail faster. The term shall be interpreted as above the theoretical speed a great additional power is necessary for a small gain in speed.

Immersion rate

The immersion rate is defined as the weight required to sink the boat a certain level. The immersion rate for Alerion is about 102 kg/cm, alternatively 574 lbs/inch.
Meaning: if you load 102 kg cargo on the boat then it will sink 1 cm. Alternatively, if you load 574 lbs cargo on the boat it will sink 1 inch.

Sailing statistics

This section is statistical comparison with similar boats of the same category. The basis of the following statistical computations is our unique database with more than 26,000 different boat types and 350,000 data points.

Motion Comfort Ratio

What is Motion Comfort Ratio (MCR)?

The Motion Comfort Ratio for Alerion is 27.0.

Low High 90% 0 50 100
Comparing this ratio with similar sailboats show that it is more comfortable than 90% of all similar sailboat designs. This is a comfort value significantly above average.

L/B (Length Beam Ratio)

What is L/B (Length Beam Ratio)?

The l/b ratio for Alerion is 3.43.

Wide Slim 93% 0 50 100
Compared with other similar sailboats it is slimmer than 93% of all other designs. It seems that the designer has chosen a significantly more speedy hull design. This type of design is also referred to as 'needle'.

D/L (Displacement Length Ratio)

What is Displacement Length Ratio?

The DL-ratio for Alerion is 260 which categorizes this boat among 'light crusers & offshore racers'.

Heavy Light 38% 0 50 100
38% of all similar sailboat designs are categorized as heavier. A heavy displacement combined with smaller water plane area has lower acceleration and is more comfortable.

SA/D (Sail Area Displacement ratio)

What is SA/D (Sail Area Displacement ratio)?

The SA/D for Alerion with ISO 8666 reference sail is 20.4, with a 135% genua the SA/D is 22.8.

Low High 92% 0 50 100
The SA/D ratio indicates that it is faster than 92% of all similar sailboat designs in light wind.


Bottom Paint

When buying anti-fouling bottom paint, it's nice to know how much to buy. The surface of the wet bottom is about 19m2 (204 ft2).
Based on this, your favourite maritime shop can tell you the quantity you need.

Note: If you use a paint roller you will need more paint than if you use a paintbrush.


Dimensions of sail for fractional rig.

mainsail specifications headsail specifications

Are your sails worn out? You might find your next sail here: Sails for Sale

If you need to renew parts of your running rig and is not quite sure of the dimensions, you may find the estimates computed below useful.

Guiding dimensions of running rig
Mainsail halyard 24.9 m(81.5 feet)8 mm(5/16 inch)
Jib/genoa halyard24.9 m(81.5 feet)8 mm(5/16 inch)
Spinnaker halyard24.9 m(81.5 feet)8 mm(5/16 inch)
Jib sheet 7.9 m(26.0 feet)10 mm(3/8 inch)
Genoa sheet7.9 m(26.0 feet)10 mm(3/8 inch)
Mainsheet 19.8 m(65.0 feet)10 mm(3/8 inch)
Spinnaker sheet17.4 m(57.2 feet)10 mm(3/8 inch)
Cunningham5.5 m(18.2 feet)8 mm(5/16 inch)
Kickingstrap11.1 m(36.4 feet)8 mm(5/16 inch)
Clew-outhaul11.1 m(36.4 feet)8 mm(5/16 inch)

Boat owner's ideas

This section is reserved boat owner's modifications, improvements, etc. Here you might find (or contribute with) inspiration for your boat.

Do you have changes/improvements you would like to share? Upload a photo and describe what you have done.


We are always looking for new photos. If you can contribute with photos for Alerion it would be a great help.

If you have any comments to the review, improvement suggestions, or the like, feel free to contact us. Criticism helps us to improve.