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The Ensign sailboat is the largest class of full keel boats in North America. It was designed by Carl Alberg and built by Pearson Yachts of Portsmouth, Rhode Island who manufactured nearly 1800 boats from 1962 through 1983. Its popularity, rather than declining with the advent of very high performance boats, has been on a major upswing. We have one of the strongest national organizations and support fleets from the East Coast through the Rocky Mountains.
Four Regional Championships, a Midwinter Championship and a National Championship Regatta are held each year.
The Ensign is 22 and 1/2 feet long, weighs about 3,000 pounds, has a draft of 3 feet and is best raced with a crew of four. It is favored by former dinghy sailors and cruisers alike. It has no life lines and therefore can be sailed with many dingy tactics such as hiking and roll tacking. It is a comfortable day sailer with a large cockpit. Besides a main and working jib it can have an inventory of a #1 and # 2 Genoa, a blade and spinnaker. For cruisers it can be equipped with a roller furling genoa.
Using the original molds that the Ensign Class Association purchased from Pearson Yachts when they went out of business; Ensign Spars, Inc. manufactures the New Ensign Classic in Dunedin, Florida.
The Objective of the Ensign Class Association is to promote and develop Ensign Class racing under uniform rules and to rigidly maintain the One-Design features of the Ensign. It also promotes the Ensign as a family boat for recreational sailing.
Baker Wins Ensign Nationals
With a full set of UK Sailmakers sails, Jonathan Baker of Austin, Texas won the 44-boat 2011 Ensign National Championship. The regatta was the 50th annual event and was held on Lake Canandaigua, in upstate New York. It was a true family affair for Baker with his younger sister Sarah Faust on bow, brother-in-law Eric Faust as tactician and longtime family friend Tom Groll as trimmer.
“Our boat was built in 1964 and it’s the same boat my sister and I learned to sail on,” said Baker. “When our father passed away and left us the Ensign, we knew we had to keep racing it in his honor. That makes this win even more special for us.”
Conditions for the event ranged from 5 to 15 knots with plenty of shifts. “This was my first time to sail the Nationals,” noted Baker. “We knew that our boat speed was competitive in local events, but we really had no idea how we would stack up on the national level. Our UK sails were great. We had speed with the top of the fleet in all conditions. Accelerating out of the lulls was key, and our genoa really had the power to get us up to speed quickly. I’m very happy with the sails.”
The racing was very competitive with five boats in position to win the regatta going into the last race. In the final race, Baker’s team managed a perfect start and showed great boat speed throughout to take the victory with a comfortable 8 point margin
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