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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Pearson Ensign: a Collector's item???
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Thread: Pearson Ensign: a Collector's item??? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-02-2010 12:15 PM
seasailor The Electra is the MORC version of the Ensign with the same hull, but a larger cabin, 4 berths, a smaller self-bailing cockpit, and a masthead rig. The Ensign was originally named the Electra Ensign to distinguish between the two boats. There are still used Electras around even though only 319 of them were built and production ended in the early 60's due to the popularity of the Ensign daysailor. I recently saw a picture of a guy racing an Electra in the 2009 Solo Trans-Pac race. From what I understand they are very strongly built and capable small ocean racers, if you don't expect a whole lot of headroom or storage capacity.

"The best bilge pump is a frightened man with a horse bucket!"
11-02-2010 11:58 AM
tommays I guess it depends on wear you live BUT in Northport they have a big following with deep pockets thats shows up and fields a big one design fleet every week
11-02-2010 11:47 AM
puddinlegs Someone said earlier, but the Electra was the non-daysailor version of the Ensign if I remember correctly.

just for fun: http://www.ensignclass.com/images/st...gnBrochure.pdf

What else? I'm guessing you can find one well worth restoring or getting in working order. The rigs aren't complex, and sails are relatively small. IMHO, it's a great keel boat to learn on as it's easily sailed by tying the tiller to centerline and just steering/tacking/gybing/etc... by sail trim and weight placement. All the said, I can't imagine for the life of me paying more than 4-5k for one. Sure, a J-22 is a faster, more modern boat, but then a Rocket 22 is faster than a J-22. If the OP is interested in racing and playing with a local OD fleet, then it's more about numbers than the boat.

.... and Gordon Nash has a very unique and extensive skill set to bring to an old boat restoration, not to mention that he and his entire family (mom, bro, etc....) are all great sailors and can make pretty much anything they get on go fast.
11-02-2010 11:25 AM
WouldaShoulda If it doesn't have to be an Ensign (not racing) an Electra or Sea Sprite are similarly nice looking boats in size and configuration.
11-02-2010 11:15 AM
seasailor Jeff,

I certainly agree that you can find used Ensigns cheaper than $8,000 to $15,000. The ones I saw for sale at those prices were early 60's models with total restorations, (newly recored deck, new teak all around, new rigging, sails, winches, fully race equipped, etc.) that the owners had probably put a lot of money into, as boatyard labor rates and OEM part prices can quickly add up. These were asking prices, not necessarily the selling prices. I recently saw a listing for an unrestored, but obviously well maintained, 60's vintage 6 time Ensign Championship winning boat listed for sale for $3200 in New England. And yes, some people left the Ensign fleet in favor of the Sonar and other newer designs as the Ensign Class Association chose to keep a fairly strict one design philosophy and limit proposed changes to the boat, in an effort to keep the older boats competitive. I wouldn't encourage people to rush out and buy an old boat and update it in the hope of getting a huge return on it, because that doesn't usually happen, given the current costs. The Ensign, in my opinion, is what it is, a great daysailor and one design race boat within its limits, and there is apparently still a demand for it.
11-02-2010 08:45 AM
Jeff_H I would not count on getting $8,000 to $15,000 for a restored Ensign. Not that long ago I looked at two that were for sale here on the Chesapeake, both in very nice condition, one with almost new sails and a reasonably new outboard that had asking prices of $3500 and $2600.

It would be very hard to find a buyer for a Ensign at that price, even if it was restored, when you can easily buy a J-22 or a Sonar in very nice condition for $8,000 to $15,000 and have a far better boat all around.

Jeff
11-02-2010 08:23 AM
seasailor 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.
12-01-2009 01:56 PM
budster
Ensigns are Great boats

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...
07-14-2006 01:54 PM
Jim H Beyond that, check out the article titled "Gordie's World" in the June issue of Latitude 38. It's a great article about a guy who bought a 38 year-old Santana 27, and then rebuilt and resigned it to be a go-fast sled design, with plumb bow, new keel, new rig, new cockpit, articulated sprit pole, the whole nine yards.

In the end, the cost was about 1/3rd that of a new go-fast boat, but don't ask how many hours were involved. His point was that there are a lot of good boats out there heading for the dumpster, that could be brought back to beyond original spec.

I believe the the original cost of the boat was $1,000 after he sold off some unneeded parts, but then about $30k was invested over 2.5 years. 50 gallons of resin, a roll of fiberglass, kevlar cloth, carbon fibre... you get the idea.

Jim H
07-14-2006 01:48 PM
CBinRI I believe that you should be able to get one in pretty good shape in that range. But like all old boats, you will have to sink money into it to maintain it. I had one for several years and found it to be a great family daysailer. Not fast by today's standards but a large comfortable cockpit and sufficiently stiff. Not great in light air, though.

By the way, someone bought the molds and is selling them new. But I think that would cost somewhere in the twenties, which defeats the purpose, I guess.
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