The Alden 54 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Alden 54, an aft-cockpit staysail ketch, was designed by Niels Christian Helleberg and built in the USA by Alden Yachts Inc.

An Alden 54 - this one's a staysail ketch, but they were also produced as a cutter.An Alden 54 staysail ketch

Published Specification for the Alden 54

Underwater Profile: Centreboard keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 54'1" (16.5m)

Waterline Length: 40'0" (12.2m)

Beam: 14'4" (4.4m)

Draft: 10'6" (3.2m) centreboard down; 5'6" (1.7m) centreboard up

Rig Type: Staysail ketch (but also produced with a cutter rig)

Displacement: 36,500lb 16,556kg

Designer: Niels Christian Helleberg

Builder: Alden Yachts (USA)

Year First Built: 1985

Year Last Built: 2002

Published Design Ratios for the Alden 54

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 17.8

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 41.1

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 255

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 36.8

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Alden 54

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 17.8 suggests that the Alden 54 will, in the right conditions, approach her maximum hull speed readily and satisfy the sailing performance expectations of most cruising sailors.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 41.1 means that the Alden 54 will stand up well to her canvas in a blow, helping her to power through the waves.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 255, tells us the Alden 54 is a moderate displacement cruiser, which means she'll carry all your cruising gear without it having a dramatic effect on her performance. Most of today's sailboats intended for offshore cruising fall into this displacement category.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 36.8 suggests that crew comfort of an Alden 54 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.7 tells us that an Alden 54 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

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