2010 Annual Alerion Factory Rendezvous
April 5, 2010
From the log of Casey Brennan's Patriot:
On a rainy Saturday, on March 13th, over 150 Alerion Express customers consisting of both owners and prospective owners gathered at the Pearson Composites factory in Warren, Rhode Island to learn more about the beloved Alerion Express. Pearson Marine Group employees, various vendors and others taught a variety of informational seminars related to our boats at the event.
The day began with a welcome breakfast and informal reception allowing the opportunity to meet and talk directly with Pearson employees. One of the highlights was meeting and talking with Tiberio (Mr. Alerion as they call him), the lead who built many of our boats throughout the years. The first thing Tiberio wanted to know was my hull number. He immediately told me when she was built and that they remembered building the boat. Tiberio and his team were just as excited to meet the owners. The guys wanted to know where the boat had gone to live as well as what she had been named. They were also keenly interested in learning if I had experienced any problems and if I had any recommendations about either its design or construction. It felt as though each worker had a special pride in their craftsmanship and enjoyed that connection with its owner. One gentleman commented that it was their goal at Pearson to make every boat leaving the factory better in some way than any of its predecessors. Even if that was only a small improvement, it was nonetheless an improvement and over time each of these improvements paid off.
Following the breakfast-reception there was the opportunity to tour the factory. This was very interesting as our guide was one of the designers and fielded many interesting questions from the group. You could see that as a marine manufacturing group Pearson is constantly looking at improving their processes with an aim of removing as much as possible any potential for mistakes while increasing efficiencies and quality throughout each phase of construction. The remainder of the morning offered a variety of seminars and opportunities to learn more on topics such as: tuning your Alerion’s rig, or how to maximize its sail trim under various conditions. Yanmar’s seminar was on the care and maintenance of your engine. There additional seminars from Mastervolt on its new lithium Ion powered AE-33; Cay Electronics talked about the latest in marine electronics and one of the best seminars of the day was given by Pearson Marine Group employees on the “care and service of your Alerion.” You could also see a variety of projects that were currently underway. There was an older Alerion with a very early hull number who was in for a complete refurbishment. In addition to new Awlgrip on the topsides and complete refurbishment of her bright work along with upgrading the rig, the owner had new teak decking installed. In comparison a new Alerion 28 (hull-427) sat directly across from her. You had to look carefully to notice the differences between the boats and the teak decking looked awesome on the 28.
The CEO of Pearson Composites, Mr. Patrick Burke discussed Pearson’s commitment to weathering the recent economic downturn, as well as his confidence and excitement about the company’s future and continued growth. The highlight was the unveiling of the new Alerion Sport 33. The boat launches in June and already the first 3 hulls have sold! The AS-33 is impressive as it has tiller steering and manual winches much like our AE-28’s. It can be rigged for either a symmetrical or asymmetrical spinnaker and has the advantages of a larger boat while still retaining the classic good looks of our 28. Click here for a link to the AS-33 web page.
After all the earlier excitement, the factory served up a great lunch which was followed by more seminars and tours throughout the afternoon. The day ended with a wine and cheese reception which once again afforded time to meet and talk with Pearson Marine Group employees as well as fellow Alerion owners. As an Alerion owner at one time or another you may have had the opportunity to speak with Mark Dauplaise. Mark is the Customer Service Manager who I can tell you is just as committed to our customer satisfaction as you are to the care of your Alerion. There were many other owners, prospective owners and Pearson Marine Group employees I had the opportunity to meet and talk with throughout the day. Attending the Alerion Factory Rendezvous was not only informational but was well worth the time and effort. A great way to spend a Saturday talking and learning more about the boat we all love! Give some thought to keeping your calendar clear next year for sometime around the 2nd or 3rd weekend in March. Several of us from the Cheaspeake area might even wish to attend as a group.