American Sailing Hall of Fame

In 1995, the Triton was one of the first five boats inducted into the American Sailing Hall Fame by the American Sail Advancement Program, at Sail Expo in Atlantic City. The standard for selection was, "A boat that has earned lasting recognition by fostering new enjoyment and growth in the sport of sailing through excellent design and production ingenuity." The other boats selected this first year were Sunfish, Catalina 22, J-24, and Bermuda 40.

The Hall of Fame

Valiant 40 Windsurfer Triton
Tarten Ten Hobie 16 J/24
Cal 40 Catalina 22 Flying Scott
Santa Cruz 27 Morgan Out Island 41 Bermuda 40
Laser Sunfish

Half-models of each inductee are displayed at the Sail Expo shows and the Museum of Yachting in Newport RI as permanent displays.

The citation

When Tom Potter, sales manager for the American Boatbuilding Company, builder of the Vitesse 40, now the Block Island 40, approached his bosses in the late 1950s about building a smaller cruising auxiliary, they decided to pass. Potter then took the Carl Alberg design to cousins Clint and Everett Pearson of Pearson Yachts in Bristol, Rhode Island, builders of the Sea Sprite. After showing the plans around a bit with positive reactions, the cousins decided, "This thing makes sense. Let's do it," Everett says today.

The first boat was built in time for the 1959 New York Boat Show and Pearson Yachts came away from the show with 18 orders. More than 700 of the boats were built until production ceased in 1966, bringing fiberglass auxiliaries into the mainstream of sailing.

When asked why the Triton was so successful, Alberg has said that there was no other boat like her. By using fiberglass, she had as much room inside her as a wooden 35 footer and the Pearsons built in a very nice interior with accommodations for four that seemed to satisfy the needs of the average buyer. Alberg designed her with a wide flare forward for dryness and room for working on the deck. The Triton came out with either a sloop or yawl rig and originally sold for $9,700. She was 28'3" long with a beam of 8'3" and a 6,900-pound displacement. Her auxiliary was a 25 horsepower Universal Atomic 4.

A telltale of success is durability and since the boats were built in the infancy of fiberglass construction, they were laid up by hand and with more than a few extra layers of glass in the hulls. The boats will last forever, and the Triton Class Association makes sure that they get together every year for a National Championship. Successful, groundbreaking, popular, vital-the signs of a classic.

--Michael Tamulaites