The Ariel was designed by naval architect Carl Alberg in 1961 for Pearson Yachts of Bristol, Rhode Island. The Ariel offered Pearson’s early 1960’s customers a midsized boat to fill the product line between the very successful Pearson Triton and the smaller Pearson Ensign/Electra. The Ariel shares many of the amenities of the larger Triton including standing headroom (5’10”), berths for four, sink, ice box, freshwater tank and an enclosed head. Other factory options included spinnaker gear and the choice of auxiliary power (Universal Atomic Four inboard or an outboard in a well).
The Ariel and a later daysailing version, the Commander share a common hull and rig (the Commander has a smaller, more spartan cabin to allow for a very spacious cockpit). Of the more than 50 boat designs Carl Alberg produced after leaving the John G. Alden firm to design on his own, Alberg chose the Commander as his personal boat (Hull #302). This boat was named “ALMA” in honor of his wife and for many of his later years was sailed out of Marblehead, Ma.
Today, Hull #302 has returned to sail in the waters surrounding Bristol, RI, where she was built. She is currently owned and was restored in 2005 by Gil Stillings who, due to her wonderful design and distinguished lineage, has renamed her "Fine Lines".
Although the Ariel was produced from 1962 to 1967 (for a total of 440 boats), the majority remain in service today. While many Ariels and Commanders are used for casual daysailing, an active one design racing community still operates in San Francisco. Several ocean crossings have been made by these boats including transpacific crossings and some Newport-Bermuda runs. Those interested in learning more about these fine little boats will find a dedicated online community offering restoration advice and a growing supply base for original pattern parts.
LOA: 25' 7"
LWL: 18' 6"
Draft: 3' 7"
Ballast: 2500 lb (Lead)
Displacement: 5200-5600 lb. (Approx)*
Related Vintage Sailboats
"The Lure of Sailing"; Everett Pearson, New York Harper & Row c1965
"John G. Alden and His Yacht Designs"; Robert W. Carrick & Richard Henderson, McGraw Hill, 1983.
[note: Carrick & Henderson's book contains several references to Alberg's work at Alden including on page 409 his drawing for the lines of the Hinckley 21, a 28.5' sloop that bears a striking resemblance to his later work on both the Pearson Triton and Pearson Ariel]