The Ensign is the largest class of full keel sailboats in North America, with over 2000 boats manufactured since 1962. Designed by Carl Alberg, its sustained popularity is due to very solid and durable construction, and a design that lends itself equally and admirably to comfortable family cruising, enjoyable day sailing, and close, strategic, tactical racing. The Ensign Class is one of the strongest national organizations, with numerous local fleets from coast to coast.
As a family day sailor, the Ensign has a large, deep cockpit, with enough room to comfortably seat six to eight adults. Its full keel provides a secure, stable ride, and its three foot draft makes it perfect for the shallower waters of bays and lakes and for anchoring fairly close to a protected shore. The cabin space is more than adequate for keeping lots of gear dry, for providing immediate refuge from rainy weather, and can even sleep a couple of people... even more if they are friendly.
As a day sailor, the Ensign is a really enjoyable performer. The helm has a nice feel on all points of sail, and the boat has a versatile head sail inventory, including a working jib, a blade, #2 and #1 genoas, and a spinnaker. Single-handing is easy and exhilarating with the main and blade combination, especially if one includes the optional cabin top winches. For even easier head sail handling, it can be equipped with a roller furler.
The Ensign is 22 and 1/2 feet long, weighs about 3,000 pounds, and is best raced with a crew of four. Favored by former dinghy sailors and cruisers alike, it has no life lines and therefore many dinghy techniques (hiking, roll tacking, etc) can be used effectively. Racing is very close, strategic and tactical, with older boats performing just as well as the newer ones. This year's national champion was built in 1964, and last year's champion was built in 1966... testimony to the solid construction and durable design of the boat. The Ensign Class Association promotes and develops one design racing under uniform class rules, and rigidly maintains the one design features of the Ensign.
New Ensigns continue to be manufactured by Ensign Spars, Inc., in Marquette, Michigan, using the original molds purchased from Pearson Yachts.
Find a fleet near you, or to arrange a ride, contact one of our Regional Commanders...