Ensign

On August 14-18 the Canandaigua Yacht Club in upstate New York will be hosting a truly special regatta, the 50th National Ensign Championship. Around 45 boats are expected to attend; not bad for a full-keel racer-daysailer in this age of carbon fiber and bowsprits. Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing, will be a keynote speaker at the event.Designed by Carl Alberg, the Ensign was inducted
Author:
Publish date:
ensign

On August 14-18 the Canandaigua Yacht Club in upstate New York will be hosting a truly special regatta, the 50th National Ensign Championship. Around 45 boats are expected to attend; not bad for a full-keel racer-daysailer in this age of carbon fiber and bowsprits. Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing, will be a keynote speaker at the event.

Designed by Carl Alberg, the Ensign was inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame in 2002 and has long been the largest full-keel one-design class in the United States. Currently, there are over 50 active fleets throughout the Northeast, the Great Lakes, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Colorado and California.

Pearson Yachts built 1,775 Ensigns between 1962 and 1983. The boat then went out of production for 18 years, until Ensign Spars in Dunedin, Florida, acquired the molds and started building the boat again in 2001.

With its full keel, 1,200 pounds of ballast and a cuddy cabin with two berths for stowing sails or getting out of the rain, the 22ft 6in Ensign feels much bigger than it really is. While it’s not as zippy as the latest sport boat, it can still ghost along quite nicely in a zephyr and has a surprisingly powerful hull form for going to windward when the wind picks up.

Then there’s that magnificent 8ft cockpit. With its teak sole and mahogany bench seats, you sit in an Ensign, not on it, making it the perfect daysailer and training boat. Generations have learned to sail and race in the boat, without having to worry about slipping overboard or getting thwacked with the boom on every tack. Racing is truly a family affair, and there’s room for six or more when daysailing.

“The Ensign lends itself very well to day sailing and cruising,” says former Ensign yearbook editor Dirk Van Zyverden, summing up the boat’s attributes. “With its large and comfortable cockpit there is plenty of room for grandchildren or sleeping on a cruise.”

For evidence of the boat’s domestic appeal look no further than Doug Burtner who not only learned to sail in an Ensign at Canandaigua YC, but proposed to his wife, Erin, while sailing on Ensign #856. When he raised the spinnaker, it said, “Will you marry me?” in letters imprinted on the sail. How could she refuse? A romantic with good taste in boats is a combination that’s hard to beat.

For more on the class and its upcoming championship regatta, visit ensignclass.com

Related

shutterstock_1158262783

A Catamaran Takes on the American Great Loop

After completing the European Great Loop on our 1987 40ft Catalac catamaran, Angel Louise, my wife, Sue, and I sailed home to the States and spent two years sailing up and down East coast between Maine and Florida, like migratory waterfowl. Eventually, though, we decided to ...read more

01-LEAD_Alex_Irwin

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Competition

The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition once again captures the excitement that is sailing from around the world An impressive 109 photographers from 25 countries took part in last year’s Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2018 competition. And while Portuguese photographer Ricarado ...read more

judges2-1024x319-0219-600x

2019 Pittman Innovation Awards

For the past couple of decades, the digital side of sailing has become increasingly important, to the point where it’s now almost inconceivable going offshore, even aboard a daysailer, without at least a modicum of electronics onboard—a trend that has been very much in evidence ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! I took this shot from Cooper Island Beach Club as my ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fall in line In the days before GPS, the best trick outside the book for finding a harbor in dense fog went like this: if it’s surrounded by rocks, forget it; if not, in you go, but never try to hit it ...read more

190115-Mark-Slats-Golden-Globe-Race2048x

Photo-Finish in the Golden Globe Race 2018

With less than 1,700 miles to go to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, second-place Mark Slats of the Netherlands has cut another 393 miles out of the lead held by French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in the Golden Globe 2018 race.  Jean-Luc aboard the Rustler 36 Matmut ...read more

06-Heineken-1-R2018_1March_©LaurensMorel_LMA5965_p

Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing ...read more