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bobmcgov 09-23-2007 12:27 AM

New crush -- Ensenada 20
Moo, You Bloody Choir. Yayayaah, it's a cow. I'm lightly smitten with this pocket cruiser, which seems as bombproof as a 1600 lb boat can be. If the coamings were any taller, they'd be a dodger. And she'll finish most races the day after the field, but hey! Our lakes are small. A slow boat will make them seem bigger, right?

We have this problem -- flat water, but winds like the North Sea. So we need a boat that isn't Panic Stations when the wind kicks over 30, which is every single day. This Ensenada 20 only carries 175 sqft with the working jib, but with a 150% genoa and spinny option to get the nose up. It's basically the Balboa hull with a ridiculously raised deck and oversized spars.

We''ll keep the Buccaneer18 in case our lives run short of stark terror. But does this boat strike you as a nice, mellow daysailer/weekender for a very high-wind location? Experiences? Thanks again.

poltergeist 09-23-2007 10:10 AM

Go for it
Hey Bob --

You're right ... 175 feet is a modest sail plan, but you've got the genny for those days when it's not blowing 30. And 500+ pounds of balast should make her sit up pretty well. Looks a little light on cockpit and heavy on cabin, but if that suits your style, I'd say go for it!

Where do you live, with small lakes and big wind?


SimonV 09-23-2007 01:09 PM

175 feet is a modest sail plan, modest, my underpants are 175' sqr.

sailingdog 09-23-2007 01:34 PM

I say go for it... :D

bobmcgov 09-23-2007 01:38 PM


Originally Posted by SimonV (Post 196679)
175 feet is a modest sail plan, modest, my underpants are 175' sqr.

Could I borrow a pair? My jib's all blown out.

PG: Wyoming. Mean wind speed at my house is over 14 mph. It's brilliant for sailing -- never a drifting day. But the summer wind jumps from 3 kts to 30 with no apparent cause or warning. Our weather doesn't come from fronts -- it's all local sloshing around. Typical mountain stuff. So a flexible sail plan is a must; I'll sacrifice light wind performance for a boat that'll take a punch. Our Bucc18 carries 175 sqft -- at 500 lbs, all of it above waterline. I've been blown off the lake on bare poles. BTW, it's a rare week in winter that doesn't see winds over 70 mph. I've clocked 119 mph in my back yard. Eek.

The Ensenada floats in 12", can sail even with the board up (unlike the SJ21), and only draws 4' with the board down (same as the Buccaneer). It is a very small cockpit -- they claim it seats five? But for all our social-sailing plans, 90% of our sailing is onesies or twosies. We have the Bucc with its nine-foot cockpit for scaring large numbers of people at once.:)

One big concern -- nearly all E20s I've seen are salt-water boats. Solid iron keel....

Simon123 05-01-2008 02:25 AM

I realize this is an old thread but I think it makes more sense in this case to keep the information about a relatively unknown boat in one place. I have one of these that I sail in the lakes around Dallas, when I finish my degree I am planning to take 6 mo's to year off and sail from Houston, with the intention of making it to the Bahamas but not out of the Carribean. I'm going to single hand and plan to do more of a coastal style, short passages trip. The relatively short duration overall means that I don't need much in the way of amenities, unlike what would be needed if a boat was supposed to be a long term home. My question is simply, am I completely out of my mind considering this boat for this trip? In it's favor, I own it already which means I don't have to spend half my budget on a boat, I'll be completely comfortable with it having sailed it for years. It's pretty stable though slow (I've already modified it to have a locking keel) and it's shallow draft (about 12 inches with the board up) would be convenient in the islands. Assuming that I will have the time to be careful about my weather windows and don't mind living on a 20 footer for that amount of time, is this boat unreasonable? If so, why?


pbpg 10-08-2011 07:51 PM

Bob, do you still have this Ensenada? I'm seriously in need of rigging pictures as to how the cockpit end/mainsheets are set up - especially tha dual block thing at the end of the boom? Do you have pictures, or can you describe the setup? Thanks!

bobmcgov 10-09-2011 07:37 PM

Hey ho. What luck to see your post -- I rarely visit SailNet these days. We did not buy the E20 -- went with the SJ21 instead. Much livelier boat, but it has its own challenges. We did have some folks roll into Isthmus Cove (Catalina Island) this summer on an E20 and tie off to the stringline: brand new sailors on their first trip anywhere, and the boat took care of them on the crossing. Also the only boat we've ever seen at Catalina smaller than ours -- tho rather heavier!:)

For E20 information, you might peruse these sites:


Ensenada 20

Rick's Sailing pages

And don't forget to search for the RK20 and Balboa 20 versions of the boat. Or go to the Trailer Sailor BBS and ask for Rick or Noemi, both of whom sail the E20. Rick did a multi-day in the Apostle Islands this summer.

AFAIK, the E20 uses your basic boom-end triangular mainsheet setup: Sheet attaches to a becket on one coaming block; over the bottom sheave on the boom end fiddle block; down and around the other coaming block; back over the boom-end fiddle, top sheave; down and around the first coaming block, and thence to a cleat on the cockpit sole. Our SJ21 was set up the same, tho we have since changed to mid-boom sheeting.

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