Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Post your comments and thoughts about any and all classic sailboats here.

What is the ideal daysailor?

Pearson Ensign 23'
14
45%
Cape Dory 25'
4
13%
Cape Dory Typhoon 19'
11
35%
Bristol Corinthian 19'
2
6%
 
Total votes : 31

Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby charlesadan » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:41 pm

Thanks again for all the suggestions

I've gotten out on a couple more Ensign's and I may have a lead on one that's in good condition that I'd be able to pick up towards the end of the season (for hopefully not too much cash)

My last trip out was in ~20 kts of breeze in Noyac Bay in Long Island. Myself and a single crew sailed for a couple of hours with mainsail only. The chop was only 2-3 feet, since it's pretty sheltered, but I will admit there were a few puffs where I worried about putting the rail under the water and flooding the cockpit. It was a damn difficult auto-cleat on the mainsheet that had me unsettled; I could envision racing in similar conditions with the jib up and getting into real trouble. Or broaching with the spinnaker up.

Thinking about the conditions in Penobscot Bay, where it's often 15-25kts with 2-4 swells in the afternoons... perhaps I had not fully internalized the peace-of-mind that comes with an auto-bailing cockpit (or at least a robust bilge pump and flotation).

OR perhaps the peace-of-mind that comes with sailing on other peoples' boats!
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby Rachel » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:18 pm

Don't take my word on this, but just as a spot of conversation: I spent some time sailing on a friend's Ensign in Maine, and I had the exact same feeling as you. I'm just so used to that self-bailing cockpit (and or a boat that is not self-bailing but then does not have a chunk of lead in the keel) that I had those "are we going to flood this thing?!?!" butterflies. My friend mentioned that he got the Ensign when he was a teenager, and that he and his brother used to sail it all summer in races -- over-canvassed, rail down, etc. (and knowing him now he was not too conservative then). They never took on enough water to founder.

I imagine it has happened, but that anecdote told me it is probably a lot harder than it feels like it would be.
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby Brodie » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:14 pm

My Marlin was also not self bailing....the thought that she could sink definitely did cross my mind, but in 4 years of sailing I never took solid water over the leeward coaming, and I figured if she hadn't ever sunk in her 45 years that she was probably ok.....
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby hebert01 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:45 pm

Due to a failed bilge pump, I once arrived at my mooring after a storm to find water up to the benches on my Ensign. Other than a flooded outboard stowed under the cockpit sole, the boat was otherwise fine. Didn't even look close to sinking.

The old flotation on my 1965 boat might be a little suspect, but the new "Ensign Classics" certainly have positive flotation. In fact, I've seen photos of (Ensign Spars owner) Zeke Durica and his three crewmates standing on the deck of a completely swamped Ensign, and the shearline was still a foot or more out of the water.
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby okawbow » Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:51 pm

Not sure about the Ensign, but my Corinthian 19 has sealed forward and stern bulkhead compartments full of flotation foam. It might get flooded, but can't sink. I've been out in wind that put the rail under to the coaming boards many times, and never got more than a trace of water in the cockpit.

I just returned from cruising Penobscot Bay, and mentioned several times to my wife, that I wished I had my Corinthian to sail there. I saw a Typhoon out regularly, and he was having a ball! The Corinthian is 700 pounds heavier, and more stable than the Typhoon. The Ensign is a notch more stable than the Corinthian. All of them are a joy to sail.
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby hebert01 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:00 pm

Yeah, my boat still has the original foam flotation forward and aft, but I'm not sure I'd trust it to keep my boat afloat. It might be saturated. But it's there, and I hope I never have to test its utility.
Ed Hebert
ALLEGRA - Ensign #998
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby ILikeRust » Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:19 pm

Pretty nice-looking Typhoon for sale in Barnegat, NJ:

http://annapolis.craigslist.org/boa/2517537362.html
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby seasailor55 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:41 pm

I have no problems recommending the Ensign! I am currently restoring a 1965 Ensign that was donated to our youth sailing organiztion. 46 years old and the hull is solid as ever. The deck is fine and needs no recoring, and the mahogany coamings need a coat of varnish. It has the original bronze winches and deck fittings. I'm replacing the bulkheads, cabin sole, and v-berth with new epoxy coated plywood, so the boat should be good to go for many more years. With its huge cockpit, positive flotation, and lockable cuddy cabin, it's a great boat for a sail training program! I was in the process of searching for another Ensign for our group, when we were offered a 1984 Cape Dory 22 in excellent condition, complete with trailer. Since it's also an Alberg design, with the same draft, weight, and a full keel similar to the Ensign, it's ideal. The CD 22 has a full ash, teak, and holly interior, with four bunks, galley, etc. The cockpit is smaller than the Ensign's but is self bailng, and the boat has a bow pulpit and lifelines. It also has bronze hardware and generous teak. Might be something to consider.
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby Rachel » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:37 pm

seasailor55 wrote:I have no problems recommending the Ensign! ... With its huge cockpit, positive flotation, and lockable cuddy cabin, it's a great boat for a sail training program!


I didn't know the Ensign had positive flotation. Can you tell more about that?
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby seasailor55 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:05 pm

Early Ensigns have flotation (unfortunately not the newer closed cell foam), in the forepeak, under the v-berth, and in the stern aft of the cockpit. Ensign archive blueprints show placement of recommended flotation blocks under the cockpit side decks. In the Ensign Classic, the areas of the keel under the cabin sole, and aft of the cabin bulkhead are also filled with closed cell -moisture resistant foam, then glassed in, creating postitive bouyancy while fully swamped. Zeke Durica, president Ensign Spars, and I discussed my restoration efforts and he gave me quidance regarding placement of foam for positive flotation in our Ensign. True, there's that big open cockpit and there's not a lot of freeboard, but I've never heard of an Ensign sinking while sailing.
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby David VanDenburgh » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:54 pm

That open-cell foam contributed to the death of #1240's cabin. Nasty stuff. It was totally saturated and must have held a couple hundred pounds of water. You can read about it here, if you're interested: http://nauticallit.wordpress.com/2010/0 ... and-sails/. Gotta research the closed-cell stuff they're using now.
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Re: Alternatives to the Pearson Ensign?

Postby seasailor55 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:41 am

Very true regarding early Ensign foam saturation. In fact, the Ensign archive blueprints show a PVC tube inserted through the forepeak bulkhead at the bottom for drainage into the bilge. The rear bulkhead has a notch in it at the bottom to allow drainage to the bilge. Even Hobies and Sunfishes collect moisture and have drains. Maybe drill small holes at the low points of the v-berth sides and insert removable bailer plugs. Then again, if the v-berth and fore peak are made air tight, with drain plugs, the foam is unneccessary, unless the hull is compromised. As to the closed cell foam, the material that is sprayed into houses between the studs for insulation should work fine, although it's twice as expensive as open cell foam. By the way David, I have visited your site quite often, and have found it very interesting and informative, especially the pic showing the student that had to be cut out of the cabin!
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