The Alerion Class Sloop finds new reach with Sanford Boat and Brooklin Boat Yard.
By Ellinor Walters
Among native Nantucket fleets, one classic sloop stands out as regal among the rest. In 1977, Sanford boats of Nantucket, Massachusetts built their first Alerion Sloop, a cold molded reproduction of the favorite personal vessel of Nathanael Herreshoff. The build was a great success, and 28 others followed and were distributed throughout the United States from Florida to Maine, and Michigan to Texas. Today, 25 of those 29 boats have returned to Nantucket second-hand where they are sailed frequently and appreciated for their classic look and graceful handling.
Sanford remarks that the boat is incomparable to any other vessel on the water, and offers the sailor the experience of the pure joy of sailing.
“I had a cousin, a graceful woman herself, and I took her for a sail, she remarked that when she was on an Alerion, she felt like Princess Grace of Monaco. People that appreciate fine things, appreciate the Alerion.”
Now, 41 years after the first Sanford Alerion entered the water, Sanford has partnered with Brooklin Boat Yard of Brooklin, Maine, to give renaissance to the exquisite classic. Steve White, owner of BBY, and Alfie Sanford have had a long friendship, and that friendship blossomed into a mission to bring the Alerion to a broader audience.
White, who has been looking for an opportunity to build a production boat for some time, saw the Alerion as the perfect new venture.
“The Alerion Class Sloop is a proven boat – her design, construction, and pedigree have been well-established. She will reflect well on Brooklin Boat Yard.”
With the classic design, Sanford’s concept and White’s expertise in custom builds and cold molding, the Alerion is set to be a success that brings contemporary owners back to Herreshoff’s original intention for the boat.
“I think the Alerion is a specialist boat,” says Sanford, ”for sailors who want to make the effort and have a boat for the pure joy of sailing.”
The Alerions on Nantucket are loved and sailed often by their owners, they often sail more, and at a considerably less expensive rate than their friends who daysail their cruising boats that they no longer cruise. The easy maintenance of the class makes them a boat to last a lifetime.
So far, Sanford says, the feedback for the Alerion has been strong and he looks forward to seeing fleets of the well-loved classic in harbors across America.
“People who really know and love sailing, are going to want them, and I want to get them in their hands.”