1972 Pearson Ensign

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1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:16 am

Looking at buying an Ensign that's close to being water-ready, but not so pretty that it breaks the bank.

Just got back from a trip looking at Hull #421, and would appreciate any tips, thoughts or feedback.

On the list of things that need to be done that I've found (so far) include:
1) replace flotation
2) replace/restore electronics (just lighting and house battery, but would also consider adding a small solar panel to charge a short-range electric outboard like a Torqeedo)
3) re-bed port jib winch
4) repair stern light fitting (minor)
5) fabricate canvas boom tent
6) strip and re-paint bottom
7) fabricate new v-berth cushions (maybe)
8) new vang system (maybe)
9) new running rigging (maybe)

I also have some questions that I will post along with pictures

Ensign 421.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:19 am

Bottom needs to be stripped and repainted with antifouling

Topsides were painted recently and look good from a distance, but closer inspection reveals the surface wasn't stripped properly before application

Paint detail.jpg
Paint detail
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby Hirilondë » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:28 am

A couple trips to look at the boat with some careful thought in between is always good before jumping in. Maybe even bring a friend as well (he/she may see things you don't). But if you have found an Ensign that only needs the type of work you are listing (and I don't mean to seem like I doubt you, I am just cautious) then I can't think of any reason not to buy it.
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:30 am

Brightwork in serviceable condition, especially the coamings. The cockpit interior may only have a few more seasons left in it. Cockpit seats are unvarnished mahogany and have a little more 'flex' than I'd like.

Also pictured, an original (?) winch. Owner has commissioned a custom fabricated handle to fit, although has not been delivered as of yet.

Brightwork.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:33 am

Electronics are old and current owner has no idea if they work. May not be salvageable, although all the components appear to be intact, including the mast wiring.

Electronics.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:38 am

Owner undertook a DIY repair of the deck core around the starboard chain-plates. It's not pretty, but the bonding could be stronger than it looks, as the owner using vacuum bagging and impregnated from the top.

Starboard chainplates glass repair1.jpg


Starboard chainplate glass repair2.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:46 am

Port chain-plates look better although there may be some partial de-bonding; I can't tell how bad a sign that separation at the deck connection is... any thoughts from the community here?

Port chainplates.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby ensign001 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:49 am

Hull #421 was built in 1963, the 2nd year of production for the Ensign.
I would closely inspect the mast step, making sure it was sound. Repairing the "foundation" of the mast step is a little involved. Also the rudder and rudder post as this can add $1,100+ to the cost of the boat if you have to buy new. I would also consider rebedding all of the deck hardware that you can unless you are sure that is has been recently and properly.
I hope it works out for you.
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:53 am

Standing rigging appears complete and in good condition given the age. The owner has stored the spars indoors for the last six years. I'm in no position to judge the quality of the shrouds, but I didn't see any rust or signs of corrosion.

Some pitting in the aluminum mast.

Mast detail2.jpg


Mast detail.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:19 am

The owner said that the steel boom vang fitting (pictured below) caused substantial corrosion on the aluminum boom, so he undertook a DIY aluminum patch repair (is there even such a thing?). Not exactly a "mint condition" look, but looks fine for day-sailing - anyone here think otherwise? Not the kind of thing I want to fail when I'm out on the water...

Aluminum boom repair.jpg


Steel boom vang fitting.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:23 am

The rudder swung freely and appeared to have good connection to the stuffing box and tiller.

I believe the rudder is plywood that was glassed over by a "professional" yard. However, if you look closely you can see some blistering under the glass. Oh well.

Rudder.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:25 am

There's a drain installed in the keel to let the bilges empty before winter storage. Does anyone know if this is normal for Ensigns? I didn't see a manual bilge pump... Should I have? It's not a self-bailing cockpit.

Bilge drain.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:33 am

Thanks Hirilondë and ensign001 for your input!

Glad to know the exact year - you never know what to take at face value when you're talking about boats.

I posted a picture of the rudder - not perfect as you can see, but the rudder post connection seemed OK.

Regarding the mast-step, I inspected it as well as I could, but honestly I'm not expert enough to determine if the platform is in good shape or not. There was no apparent dampness, looseness, or other external signs of damage. There was some corrosion of the step itself, as you can see.

Mast step.jpg
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby ensign001 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:26 pm

[quote="charlesadan"]There's a drain installed in the keel to let the bilges empty before winter storage. Does anyone know if this is normal for Ensigns? I didn't see a manual bilge pump... Should I have? It's not a self-bailing cockpit.

The drain plug was added. I think it is a good idea as it helps to drain trapped water in the keel that could freeze and damage the keel.
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby Rachel » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:02 pm

I have some questions about the deck repair. If I'm seeing this right, I see fiberglass cloth/resin on the underside of the deck. Then I see holes on the top of the deck. And you say he vacuum bagged and "impregnated from the top."

I may be off here, but I'm wondering if the deck core was/is wet and soggy, the owner drilled some holes in it to "air it out," and then maybe filled them with epoxy, and then vacuum bagged some glass cloth onto the underside of the deck; but without ever cutting off the deck skin (upper or lower) and digging out the rotten core. (?)

Again, I may be off here, but if that's the case, it's something I would count on doing it over again, myself (and it will probably be more of a pain to dig out the rotten core if it has a bunch of epoxy "stumps" inside it).

I would also assume the deck around the chainplates on the other side was done for, unless I had some really good proof otherwise. And, I would suspect the rest of the deck (pending further investigation).

I also would want to know more about how that aluminum mast repair was done. I tend to be a bit suspicious of "unconventional" repairs until I know more about them. Maybe they are fine, but sometimes they are done inappropriately to take a shortcut or to save a buck.

Also, if I see something like a paint job done without any feathering or much prepping, well, then I want to know more about other repair processes.

I don't mean to sound too harsh; I'm just telling you what I would be thinking if I were looking at the boat. And of course we know how fabulous the Ensign is, so I'm leaving that out and perhaps it makes my reply sound unbalanced.

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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:09 pm

Rachel said: "perhaps it makes my reply sound unbalanced"

Not at all! That is all great feedback, and combined with others' I have decided to opt for a professional survey in order to answer some of these questions. I don't want to get into a complete deck replacement project!

Same goes for the standing rigging...

Thanks everyone for the feedback... keep it coming...
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby One Way David » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:18 am

I thought the date and # were out of synch also. I have 1965 #1387. Are you sure it is #421 and not 1421 which may be closer to 1972. If not ant 421 is correct I agree with the previous poster (#1 wow).

Mine came with no electronics. I'm envious. I added a bilge pump to run off a small 12 v marine battery. One charge per year keeps her dry-ish. Your mast looks rather pitted but I do not know if that is a hindrence or not. Check the wood floor under the cuddy also. I no sooner got her home but the rotten wood I couldn't see began to fall out. Repair is scheduled for this winter.

A good boom tent is a must to keep these girls dry. Mine is of poor design and my cockpit is wet after any rain. I like a closed fore and aft end and clips that hook the rub rail. I also like a design that combines a mainsail cover and boom tent in one design. My current boom tent requires a mainsail cover to cover the luff where the bullets bunch up when the sail is stowed on the mast. My neighbor has a neat kind of hook that looks like white schedule 40 PVC 3/4 that has about 1/3 cut making a sort of "C" that snaps onto the rub rail. Mine has bronze hooks screwed into the toe rail that don't work as well.

You mention original winches. I have to say I have never used a winch on mine in 3 years. But I don't race and limit myself to wind conditions I'm comfortable in. I tossed the rotten cuddy cushions and just use it for storage. Too cramped for me.

The keel drain is a nice addition. I drill a drain hole for winter and epoxy in the spring. Maybe one day I'll add one of those drains as Tim and others here have recommended.

My sole and seats don't appear to have ever been varnished while the rest of the bright work has. My 200# does yield a little spring but I feel safe on it.

Good luck, these are fun boats to sail.

Dave.
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:29 pm

Thanks One Way David

Definitely need a good boom tent solution, and since I'll probably need to make from scratch it's good to have those ideas.

As to the question of provenance, since it's a lingering question I'll post the picture of the hull # plate on the after-most part of the cockpit, just under the tiller.

Pearson 421.jpg


Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a surveyor near Newport, RI? I've been in touch with some but haven't had much luck as of yet.
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby Quetzalsailor » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:27 pm

There's not a square inch of that boat that you will not have your fingers on, if what you want is a restored boat. Good news is that she's not very big. You might consider throwing her together and sailing a season at minimal cost and effort. Be sure that you love her. Then, have at it.

I don't like the look of the deck 'repairs'; count on doing it over correctly. Someone else will tell you if it has a plywood core. I don't like the look of the chainplates. Someone else will tell you what to expect. I'd hope to see stainless chainplates bolted to a solid 'glass knee, but I'll bet that they're glassed over plywood. It's an easy fix to buy some 'glass sheets from McMaster Carr, cut to shape and tab them in. Keep an eye out for carbon steel reinforcements and backup plates; they were in production boats for another 10 years.

Mangy old, small aluminum components can be removed and taken to someone who will clean 'em up and reanodize 'em. They won't look new, but they won't continue to disappear.

There's nothing wrong with a mechanically-fastened aluminum or stainless fitting, or even a doubler, on an aluminum mast. Bed the fitting and isolate the fasteners electrically. Excessive, and close holes are to be avoided.

Look at the several Pearsons that Tim's done. It will be worth the trouble, particularly if you love the boat.
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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby One Way David » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:55 am

I think Quetzalsailor has summed up the condition and depth of repairs needed in a brevity of words that best conveys reality. I chose to over look some things to go sailing a couple of years. This winter wood work is #1 on the list. Oh, you want an example, as I was preparing to load up on the trailer I noticed the bildge pump was running but no water was coming out the thru hull. I pulled up the sole and there, another piece of rotten wood floor support/cleat was stuck under the float valve (it fell from under the cuddy). I'm collecting these pieces of rotten cast offs for some reason I don't understand.

Ok, you have proved the hull number and by that I think the born on date ( or nearer to it than you were). I also note that the hull # plate is a bit different than mine but located in the same place.

Quetzalsailor also mentiones the good part, its a small boat. It didn't seem small in April's 90' F weather as I sweated and cramped to scrap, sand and paint the hull. But, I don't have a 34' or 41' real boat beside her to compare to either. Maybe I should try to dream down a bit.

I notice that your chain plates have a ss plate on the deck that mine doesn't. Mine just poke up through the FG deck. In the cuddy, my chain plates bolt to knees that Quetzalsailor points to as probably FG covered plywood. I never thought of this as being a weak spot, but he makes a point.

If you do get her and do any work, I for one would be interested in following along, your pictures that is.

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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby One Way David » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:02 am

charlesadan, hi there. Thought I would inquire qbout your Ensign. Any news?

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Re: 1972 Pearson Ensign

Postby charlesadan » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:54 pm

Thanks for the interest

After the MUCH APPRECIATED feedback from this community, I decided that the amateur repairs that had been done on mission-critical areas was too risky a prospect for me.

Subsequently I found another Ensign that looked to be in better overall condition (and I liked the color!), but, alas, she was snapped up by someone the morning that I had scheduled to meet with the surveyor.

So, I'm waiting rather impatiently for the perfect boat to come along. Anyone know of any more Ensigns for sale on the NY->ME corridor?
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