Ericson Sailboats: A Comprehensive Guide for Enthusiasts
Ericson sailboats have long been admired by sailors for their unique combination of speed and luxury. Founded by a group of former employees of Columbia Yachts, Ericson Yachts collaborated with designer Bruce King to create a line of boats tailored to the needs of versatile sailors. Although the company experienced a tumultuous financial history—including multiple changes in ownership—Ericson models have consistently been popular choices amongst the sailing community.
A key feature of Ericson sailboats is their commitment to performance without sacrificing comfort. These vessels are designed to be fast, ensuring thrilling sailing experiences while their interiors are spacious and well-appointed, making them suitable for extended trips or even liveaboard scenarios. With a wide range of models available on the market, from the more modestly priced to highly specialized bespoke offerings, there is an Ericson sailboat to suit every sailor's desire.
As a testament to their lasting appeal, Ericson sailboats continue to attract enthusiasts who recognize the brand for its commitment to quality, speed, and luxury. In this article, we will delve deeper into the history of Ericson Yachts, discuss some of their most popular models, and explore what makes these boats stand out as a premier choice for avid sailors.
History of Ericson Sailboats
Ericson Yachts was founded by Ray Handy and others from Columbia Yachts in 1963. After struggling with poor production for about a year and a half, the company filed for bankruptcy and was subsequently purchased by Mark Pitman and Del Walton in 1965. The yachts produced by Ericson gained prominence in the sailing community due to their quality construction and design.
By 1990, the Ericson brand was acquired by Pacific Seacraft, which continued to build some of the later models until 1999, when it was retired. Pacific Seacraft was known for their expertise in building seaworthy, offshore-capable sailboats, and they successfully integrated their knowledge and experience into the production of Ericson sailboats.
Pacific American Industries
Pacific American Industries (PAI) was another entity involved in the ownership and production of Ericson sailboats. PAI acquired the assets of Ericson and Pacific Seacraft after they filed for bankruptcy and continued to manufacture sailboats using the Ericson name.
Bruce King was a prominent yacht designer who worked on a number of Ericson sailboats. Over the years, he developed a variety of successful designs for the company, contributing to the overall legacy of Ericson Yachts. King is also well-known for his work with other yacht companies and for designing several America's Cup racing yachts.
Popular Ericson Sailboat Models
Ericson Yachts produced many sailboat models from the 1960s to the late 1980s. Among their creations, a few models stand out for their design, performance, and legacy. In this section, we explore some of these popular Ericson sailboats.
The Ericson 27 is a compact yet spacious model that caters to both cruising and racing enthusiasts. With its balanced hull design and capable rig, the Ericson 27 provides a stable and enjoyable sailing experience.
The Ericson 29 offers more interior space and a slightly larger platform compared to the 27. Its well-thought-out layout and increased stowage options make it an excellent choice for longer trips or liveaboard situations.
Designed by Bruce King, the Ericson 30 is renowned for its elegant lines and quality craftsmanship. It was one of the first models produced by Ericson Yachts, with 150 units built between 1966 and 1970. The Ericson 30 provides a nice balance of comfort, performance, and good looks.
The Ericson 32 is known for its performance capabilities and versatile layout, making it a popular choice for a wide range of sailing needs. This model offers a comfortable cockpit, spacious accommodation, and responsive handling at sea.
Featuring a roomy interior and sleek exterior, the Ericson 34 is admired for its blend of form and function. This well-established model has earned a reputation for providing a high level of comfort and maneuverability on the water.
The Ericson 35 boasts a spacious, well-designed interior that's perfect for cruising or living aboard. Its layout and construction have made it a popular choice among sailors seeking a reliable vessel with good performance capabilities.
The Ericson 36C is a robust, center-cockpit design that offers sailors plenty of headroom and storage. This model is known for its comfort, durability, and ease of handling, making it a great option for offshore sailing and living aboard.
As one of the larger Ericson models, the E38 offers ample interior space and impressive sailing performance. It is an ideal choice for those who want a blend of comfort, stability, and style in their sailing experience.
Sailboat Design and Specifications
Ericson sailboats have a strong reputation for quality hull construction for cruising and racing. The hulls are typically built with fiberglass (FG) for durability, strength, and stability. For example, the Ericson 27, introduced in 1971, has a displacement of 6,600 pounds and offers ample stability with its masthead sloop configuration source.
Sloop, Cutter, and Racer/Cruiser Configurations
Ericson sailboats come in different configurations, including sloop, cutter, and racer/cruiser models. The Ericson 27, for instance, is designed as a masthead sloop that responds well to wind changes and navigates through choppy waters effectively. This model can comfortably accommodate up to five people source. In contrast, the Ericson 38 features moderate overhangs and freeboard, conservative proportions, and a low cabin trunk as part of its racer/cruiser configuration source.
Sail and Rigging
The sail and rigging design of Ericson sailboats varies depending on the model and configuration type. For example, the sloop-configured Ericson 27 has a masthead rig that offers stability and easy handling in various wind conditions source. Furthermore, the designer Bruce King has played a significant role in most of the Ericson models, including the Ericson 34, a 10.4-meter monohull sailboat built with a fin keel and spade rudder source.
Performance and Use
Ericson sailboats are well known for their unique combination of speed, luxury, and affordability, making them a popular choice for recreational boating and coastal cruising. These boats were designed with enough comfort on the inside that you could spend days or even live on them for a period of time, without sacrificing performance on the water1.
One popular cruising model, the Ericson 34, is described as responsive, fun to sail, and sensibly designed for coastal cruising2. It features a relatively narrow beam, rounded sections, and a cutaway forefoot, which contribute to its light-air capabilities3. This boat is suitable for both short weekend getaways and longer-term liveaboard adventures.
While Ericson sailboats are often associated with cruising, their performance capabilities extend into the world of racing as well. The Ericson 34, for example, has proven itself as a competitive PHRF racer with a rating range of approximately 125 handicap2. Its design, which emphasizes reduced skin drag and wetted surface, contributes to its success on the racecourse.
While racing and cruising may seem like different worlds, Ericson sailboats have managed to bridge the gap between these two aspects of sailing, offering enjoyable experiences for both leisure sailors and competitive racers alike.
Engines and Power Systems
Inboard Diesel Engines
Ericson sailboats are often equipped with inboard diesel engines. Diesel engines are known for their reliability, fuel efficiency, and longevity. Typical diesel engine brands found on Ericson yachts include Universal, Yanmar, and Westerbeke (source: Ericson 41, Used Sailboat Review).
Some Ericson models have specific diesel engine options, such as the Ericson 41, which was available with a choice of a 42hp Pathfinder engine or a 30hp Universal Atomic 4 diesel (source: Ericson 41, Used Sailboat Review).
Gasoline Outboard-4S Engines
Some smaller Ericson sailboats may use gasoline outboard-4S engines as a power source. These engines are compact, lightweight, and easy to maintain. Although they may not be as fuel-efficient as diesel engines, they still offer a viable power option for smaller sailboats and those who prioritize ease of use and maneuverability.
Electric engines can be found on a limited number of Ericson yachts. These engines offer the advantages of being clean, environmentally friendly, and quiet. Electric engines may be a suitable option for owners who prioritize sustainability and a reduced environmental impact. Although not as common as diesel engines in Ericson sailboats, the technological advancements in electric propulsion might lead to an increased interest in these power systems for future Ericson yacht owners.
Buying an Ericson Sailboat
Although Ericson sailboats are no longer in production, their legacy remains in the high-quality, performance-oriented vessels that can still be found on the water today. These boats are highly regarded for their construction, design, and sailing abilities. When looking for a new Ericson sailboat, it's essential to consider the available used options, as the company ceased production in the 1990s.
Used Boats for Sale
Ericson sailboats can be found for sale on various platforms, such as Sailboat Listings and YachtWorld. Prices for these vessels vary depending on their size, age, and condition. For example, you may find boats with prices as low as $6,569 and some more expensive ones, around $78,850, for highly-specialized, bespoke models. Among the popular Ericson models are the 38-200, 35, 34-2, 32-3, and 27.
These boats typically feature a lean beam dimension, which contributes to their performance, especially in light-air conditions. The design also includes a deep vee and a cutaway forefoot for reduced wetted surface and skin drag.
|35-3||11' 4"||Balanced helm, comfortable accommodation|
|38-200||12'||Wide beam, spacious interior|
|32-3||10' 10"||Practical, agile performance|
Ericson sailboats can be found through dealers located in various countries, including Canada and the United States. When searching for a dealer, it's essential to find one who specializes in or has extensive knowledge of Ericson sailboats, as they will be able to provide accurate information and guidance throughout the buying process.
The EY.o Information Exchange is an excellent resource for connecting with other Ericson sailboat enthusiasts and finding dealers through its user forums.
When buying an Ericson sailboat, consider the boat's lifestyle compatibility and the sailing performance it offers. By researching your options and connecting with knowledgeable dealers, you can confidently find the perfect sailboat to suit your needs.