The tall rig and powerful sail plan are the first things you notice about the new Alerion Sport 30. Not so obvious, but equally important to its “sport” performance, are the design and construction of the keel and rudder. Both were engineered in-house by T.J. Perrotti, Senior Naval Architect and Chief Design Engineer for USWatercraft, builder of the Alerion yachts.
“The sail area to displacement ratio is higher for the size of the boat than on other Alerion models,” says Perrotti. “We needed enough stability to counteract the powerful sailplan, so this keel is deeper and full at the tip, in order to achieve high righting moment.” The fin keel gives the Alerion Sport 30 a 5-foot draft, and also boasts a unique shape. “It’s not a bulb keel,” says Perrotti. “The shape is more sculpted at the bottom to reduce drag, with a swept tip aft to shed flow. Overall, the effect is to reduce drag and improve efficiency.”
In addition, the Alerion Sport 30 has a high-aspect ratio rudder, which is also deeper than what you find on our other models. Again, this makes the appendage more efficient, helping the boat move through the water faster.
“We sculpted the hull to include a subtle, local flat region that accommodates the top of the rudder,” Perrotti says. “The top of the rudder is very close to the hull, which helps flow when sailing in a straight line.” Perrotti worked closely with the team at Jefa Rudder Systems, getting the section shape just right, and also chose their ultra-high strength stainless steel rudder stock and self-aligning bearings to connect the rudder to the boat. “The self-aligning bearings mean that, as the rudder loads up, the bearings adapt to any bend in the rudder, and there’s essentially no friction in the system. You’ll have a consistent feel in the helm in all conditions.”
All of this attention to detail adds up to emphasize the “sport” in the performance of the Alerion Sport 30. Stay tuned; next we’ll bring you observations from the lucky sailors participating in our sea trials.