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  #1  
Old 05-14-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

i''m considering buying a pearson ensign or a cape dory typhoon. i own a laser, had a blast and am ready to move up.
my budget is around $6000. i know what i can get for that much $$. not the greatest boat, but something that will sail reasonably well and is in decent structural shape. cosmetically i don''t expect much.

what are people''s experiences with either? i''m leaning toward the pearson ensign almost definitely, but have found the typhoon''s to be a good deal. saw one in SW harbor, ME last year for cheap and appeared to be in decent shape. thats why i''m a little on the fence.

i''m looking for a boat that really sails. i know the ensign reasonably well, its history and character as a proven daysailer. i''m a little less informed on the cape dory typhoon. anyone have any experience with either? any feedback would be much appreciated.
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Old 05-15-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

Can''t comment on the Typhoon but I did own Ensign hull #197 for many years until she was destroyed in a hurricane. We sailed her in Narragansett Bay on day sails. You might want to tell us what you intend to use the boat for and where you will sail her. The Ensign was one of the first production fiberglass boats; several thousand were made and you can even get the factory to do a one off believe it or not. A beautiful boat in my humble opinion. Her full keel keeps her upright when others have their rail buried. That being said, given her low freeboard it can be a wetride when the wind and the seas kick up. Huge cockpit and tiny cabin. We used the cabin only to store sails and the like. Cockpit can seat 6+ people. Very easy to single-hand given her open cockpit and ability to scramble over the top of the cabin. Drawbacks? She can only be a daysailor. Tiny cabin. Some have put in a head but its awefully cramped in there. Our Ensign had ALOT of exterior wood which we had to have professionally done. Given the age of the boats you should get a good survey done. We had to replace the ribs of the boat.
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Old 05-16-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

i''d be sailing out of westbrook/madison CT on Long Island sound. mostly daysails. probably camp out overnight. i can take a small cabin for what it is.
mostly interested in problems pertaining to older Ensigns. really like the idea of that huge cockpit. so you needed to replace the ribs? how much did that run ya?
i love the look of ensigns, and the idea of sailing a full keel really interests me. probably ruling out the typhoons all together. anyone else have problems with Ensigns?
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Old 05-17-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

I sailed on Ensigns on Long Island Sound as a kid. In their day they were fun boats to race one design. Build quality was Okay but not great. Hull deck joints and bulkhead attachment on the early boats could be problematic if raced hard.

Compared to more modern designs they are tender, slow and wet. The earliest boats had wooden slat duck boards and an open bilge rather than a self-bailing cockpit and periodically a storm would come through you would hear of one of these being swamped and going to the bottom. Compared to more modern designs they were not very good light air boats an so are probably not a great idea in the light conditions found on Long Island Sound. While I actually like Ensigns, I suspect that you would find them really dull coming out of a Laser. I would suggest that a Sonar or J-22 would probably be a better choice given your sailing background and sailing venue.

Jeff
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Old 05-17-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

Our first family boat was an Ensign (1965?)and we found it to be an ideal family daysailer. The cockpit is large; it''s easy to handle and it is a handsome boat. Despite its age, its hull remains in fine shape. You even can still find some racing fleets around. We loved it and only stopped sailing it because we decided we wanted to do some longer cruises and bought a 36 foot boat. I would highly recommend the Ensign as a family day sailer. The only downside that I found was that because of its full keel, it is not great in light air. Also, not much room below for anything but sails and a porto-potty.

As to the Typhoon, I have only sailed one once, but found it to be much less substantial and more tender. The cockpit is substantially smaller and it is about three feet shorter. All other things being equal, I would go for the Ensign.

At the risk of losing all credibility as to the above-comments, we still own the Ensign and might consider selling it. Please feel free to contact me at cbeal@cm-law.com if you are interested.
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Old 05-17-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

For that kind of money, you might be able to find a used J/24 that would be more fun to sail (especially in the no-wind conditions of LIS.) and which would give you a big deck to lie out on as well as a big cockpit. Though it might also have some of the same construction issues as an Ensign, it would likely be close to 10 years newer.
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Old 05-17-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

Im not sure that I can do justice to the follow concept in words but you don''t always buy a boat for the "right" reasons. What is mean by that is you may fall in love with a boat purely on how it looks. Personally, I came within a hair of buying a boat with a teak deck. In retrospect, since said teak deck needed to be replaced at a cost of about $15k is was probably the "right" decision not to buy this boat. As a sailor who grew up in CT, I am very familiar with the conditions in the Sound; especially the light air conditions. Every boat is a compromise. The Ensign is a very pretty boat in my estimation. She may look very pretty in your slip or on your mooring the days when the wind is too light to drive her full-keeled hull and moderate sailplan. This might be fine with you. For pure sailing ability you might want to consider a J-22 with her large cockpit, a J-24 which has a large class following or something like a C&C 24 or 25; all of which would give you a more usable cabin. As much as I loved our Ensign, I found that I got an expenential amount of use from the Pearson 26 we bought after we lost her given the fact that she had a practical cabin with a head, berths, etc, a dryer boat when sailing and the like. EVERY boat is a trade off. Good luck in your choice.
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Old 05-18-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

i overlooked the j-24 for a few reasons, mostly price and condition of these boats. i''m probably going to hold off buying anything until i am more informed.
looking at j-24''s, alot of the cheaper ones are fleet boats and/or heavily raced boats that take a beating.
can you get a 24 for under $7000 in decent shape? i didn''t think it was possible.
i figured i could possibly find a decent ensign that was daysailed for a better price than a j-24. guess i should keep looking.
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Old 05-18-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

I''ve sailed on both, and of the two the Ensign would be my choice. The Typhoon is more a "look" than something you actually sail. If you really like the "look", there is another out there, the name escapes me, but the outboard is in a well, so you don''t mess up the lines with a motor hanging off the back. Can''t really say if it affects boat speed or not, seeing that the Typhoon has no boat speed to speak of.

The Ensign is a nice boat, sails well, all things concidered. But it really is a dated design. I sailed/raced a couple out of Noroton Yacht Club on LIS back in the 70''s. There was even an overnight race for them!

But if you like the Ensign, but would like something a little more modern and A LOT faster, try a Sonar. The boat really has a lot to offer, and just a smidge more room in the cuddy if you want to try and sleep over. Same huge cockpit, nice big main and fractional rig. A good handling all round boat.

I don''t know much about them, but the Colgate also catches my eye. I have spoken to some owners who really like them. I don''t know if you will be sailing with little ones, because the open transom of the Colgate scares me a bit with kiddies on board.

For a last shot in the dark, my all time favorite in the pocket rocket class was the Santana 23. A real mover and trailerable. You want the late 70''s model. Dagger board, fractional rig, running backs, small cozy cabin but the open transom thing again. But they can be a bit "Busy" with all the stings and stuff.

Also a nice boat is the Ranger 23. I never was a big fan of their bigger boats but the little MORC R-23 was a real sweet little boat. More cabin and living space than either the Ensign or the Typhoon, or even the Santana.

I agree, most J-24''s in your price range are probably "Rode hard and put up wet" as they say. That, and they are not really the most comfortable of boats to cruise on, much less race. I think I still have bruises from years ago on those little monsters.
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Old 05-18-2004
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Ensign vs. Typhoon

Silmaril,

I think that the pretty 22 footer that you are trying to recall was probably the Sea Sprite which was an Alberg design built by Ryder.

Another neat choice in that range and era that I have always been partial to is the C&C designed Grampian Classic 22, Bluejacket 23 and Paceship 22 which were all versions of the same boat.

I owned a Grampian classic 22 in the early 1980''s that I bought for $1900 if I remember correctly (with a dinghy). This was a great sailing little boat that I sailed all over the place. They were fully ballasted fin keel and spade rudder boats and so were quite responsive and easy to handle. Mine originally had a head, galley module and a surprisingly comfortable vee berth (if you did not mind having a head as headboard).

I had a boom tent on my boat that added a lot to the useable space and it was rigged so that it could also be used as a awinging in summer.

These were good light air boats and quite handsome.

Jeff
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