'Anonymous poster' on Sailing Anarchy
... nice, old-fashioned (Alberg) lines. Great big cockpit for social sailing. Popular one-design sailing will make it easy to sell if you want to go bigger. One of the most popular day-sailers ever. First keel boat I ever owned and we loved it. First ones made in the early 60s and someone is still building them in Florida. Good value for the money (used), IMO...
(Webmaster's Note: Ensign Spars is still building the Ensign, and is located in Marquette, MI)
I am part owner in an Ensign. Seaworthy, fun to sail..one design racing is what I do with it. Huge cockpit. Great daysailor. There are a few for sale here at my YC (in NY) if you're looking for one. 1 in good shape but would needs new sails to be competitive ..but inexpensive ($1750) one that was completely overhauled, repainted, new sails, new everything somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 IIRC...
'b40Ibis' from Sailnet
When/if I downsize the ensign is the boat for me. It reminds me of a little, simple, affordable Bermuda 40. I love the large cockpit. I think there are two ways to do this, buy one to fix up and waste a little money or buy one someone has spent a lot of money on. From what I have researched, around 1500 were made but on y-world I only pulled up 2 for sale at the moment.
(Webmaster's Note: Over 2000 Ensigns have been built to date...)
'Traveling Light' from Sailnet
I owned a Pearson Ensign and sailed it on Lake Michigan for five (5) years. It was very seaworthy, a wonderful and exciting boat to sail and had beautiful lines. I sailed in comfort and safety with six guests. Very simple to maintain also. I never should have sold her. I bought a Pearson 28-1 (by Bill Shaw). It is also a very nice boat but my heart always go back to my Ensign. I may buy another one when I retire which is with a couple of years.
'CBinRI' from Sailnet
One of the most popular daysailers ever. Nice lines. Very large cockpit for social daysails. Popular one-design and active race fleets (not sure about where you are) so relatively easy to sell if you decide to go bigger. We loved ours. Not speedy by modern standards but a great and fun boat. Highly recommended.
'CalebD' from Sailnet
I like the look of the Ensign even if the newer designs sail faster.
CBinRI's Avatar from Sailnet
I loved my Ensign. Mine was a mid 60s boat and they are still making them today, from what I understand, in Florida. They must be doing something right. Not fast by today's standards but very nice looking, stable and forgiving and would seem to meet all of your requirements.
IMHO, it is always a better idea to buy in a popular class so when you decide to sell there's a market for it.
(Webmaster Note: Ensign Spars is located in Marquette, Michigan)
'budster' from Sailnet
Ensigns can be found in every state of (dis)repair, ranging in price from $500 (a total fixer-upper) to $18,000 for a race ready, or very seaworthy, boat. I race competitively, and have about $25,000 in mine. Over 40 active fleets are located up and down the eastern and gulf coasts, but the highest population is in New England. However, the Houston Yacht Club has 35 boats in its harbor and Denver Colorado also has a populous fleet. The class website is ensignclass dot com where numerous boats are listed for sale.
It is a great daysailor, with room for 8 people in the cockpit, though it is raced with a crew of four. It draws three feet and is great for shallow bays and steep chop. It has very classic lines, and was one of the first designs inducted into the Classic Boat Hall of Fame. The National Championship attracts up to 40 boats every year. A very nice sailing boat, it tacks through 75 degrees in a breeze and 85 to 90 in light winds.
A full complement of sails should include a main, a blade (great for day sailing), a #2 genoa (18 - 25 knots of wind), a #1 genoa (0 - 18 knots of wind), and a spinnaker.
Potential problem areas are the chain plates (water leakage), the deck (water leakage through hardware mounting holes, if not done properly), the bulkhead, and the sole (the keel stepped mast rests on the sole inside the cabin, and the rig will not hold tension if this is soft). If the sole is soft, a permanent and lasting repair can be achieved by replacing it with a 1" solid fiberglass plate. The combing boards add much rigidity to the boat and should be maintained or replaced when they are in bad condition. Properly maintained, they will last a very long time. There are fiberglass floorboard and seats available for a low maintenance boat and the minimum weight for the boat is 2900 lbs.
After repairing any soft spots in the deck, all hardware should be mounted by drilling oversized holes, filling each hole with epoxy to seal against water access to the balsa core, and then re-drilling properly sized holes for the mounting hardware.
Hope this helps...
'seasailor' from Sailnet
I found an Ensign fixer-upper at a local boatyard that the owner donated to our youth sailing program. It has a good rig, hull, sails, trailer, outboard, winches, etc. The deck, however is a different story. It's pretty much shot, along with the seats and floors. It will definitely need a lot of work, but even with the needed work it's a bargain, considering that new Ensigns cost $27,000 to $30,000 (without a trailer), and fully restored '60s models run $8,000 to $15,000. I plan on doing the work myself, with assistance and guidance from a professional boat builder who has volunteered his services free, if I buy the materials. There are still good Ensigns around, for a reasonable price, if you're not looking for a fully restored one. The Gulf Coast is a good place to look, with, as mentioned a large fleet in Houston, TX. I agree that the daysailor market has gone crazy, ($300,000? for a 26 footer with a v-berth?) but I understand the shift away from complicated boats and the return to simpler, more relaxing sailing. The Ensign is perfect for a youth sailing program, with its huge cockpit, positive flotation, "big boat" handling and stability. I predict it will become more popular as time goes on and people rediscover one of the best kept secrets in sailing.
'billsull' from Sailnet
+1 on your taste in sailboats! I sail on a buddy's Ensign whenever I can. He races every week out of the Thames Yacht Club in New London CT. I think they have about 9 or 10 boats in the club plus others in the area that race.
Adam Cort, SAILING
"Back in 1962 when I first got going on the national level I had
a young family, and it's a great family boat with a deep cockpit,"
said Merle Hallet, president of Handy Boat Service in Falmouth Maine,
who sold Ensign No. 1."Now, as an old man, I sail them because
they're comfortable. Stable, comfortable, maybe a bit plain, the Ensign
nonetheless has a deep-seated quality that inevitably shines through.
No doubt the boat will be taking families and racers sailing for generations