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· Pearson Ensign
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long thread apologies for wall of text. I've been doing a lot of research getting to know sailing and it is very interesting to me.

I see the phrase "The Ensign sailboat is the largest class of full keel boats in North America" in a lot of places.

How is the ensign class the largest class when there is the atlantic class, and other big boats in the one design class list?

I think how one design racing works and what I've gathered in reading so far about yacht clubs is that you can either own or crew on a boat. It seems like most yacht clubs require you to own your own boat, that seems like it is the point of membership generally.

The idea is that you would own a boat and be able to moor or dock it there and race competitively with a crew?

I understand that there may be other facets such as being in a country club kind of fraternity or that other yacht club members might really just enjoy cruising. If this is right, what is the general experience like is it more focused on a racing culture or more of a social culture, all other things being equal.

How much experience is common before you become a skipper? I'm thinking years of experience and it depends on your desire to race as opposed to cruising?

What are some things to search for to find boats in these classes, I was able to find ensign classes for sale, but haven't found a lot of other hits for atlantic class for instance.

The one design website has a ton of classes, but are there major classes?

My local club (nbyc) has the following fleets:
Club 420
Blue Jay

Thanks for your insights.

· Registered
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One-design racing (unlike "handicap' racing in dissimilar boats) means you know exactly what place you are in during a race. I like that. Also the ODs tend to be smaller and more nimble, so more fun to sail.

Of the ones you mention, the Lightning may be your best bet. But go out and crew in all of them before you decide.

There are a hell of a lot more Ensigns than Atlantics, so "largest" means number of boats, right?

But if you're shopping for a "shallow-draft weekender", you'll need to decide if you want one you can race in the one-designs (such as the Ensign, which may not be that shallow).

Spend time around that club, all sailors are looking for crew all the time. Be one, and you'll learn before you ask your wallet to make a big committment.

· Registered
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When discussing 'largest' one design classes they are talking about the number of boats, not the size of them. And even there it gets tricky, since whatthey actually said was "largest one design full keel boat in North America". To my knowledge it is the only full keel one design anywhere. I am probably wrong and someone will jump in and tell me I am wrong, but 'full keel' is a design element not normally found in small one design boats.

As for yacht clubs... There is no need to buy a boat to join most of them. In most clubs a majority of members don't own boats, but instead are crew for owners. And I certainly wouldn't recommend buying a boat before joining. Learn to sail first, get an idea of what owning a boat is like, then decide if you want to make the plunge. Many yacht clubs even provide use of a boat free or at low cost as a benefit of membership.

· Senior Member
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In this neck of the woods many 'yacht clubs' are primarily 'owners' clubs.. ie - the primary point is to have the facilities to provide moorage for the members' boats. Mostly volunteer-run, they often require a minimum hours of 'work' per year to maintain moorage status.

The more prestigious clubs (Royals etc) do have a larger social function and a larger social membership contingent who likely don't own boats. In most clubs it's not a requirement to belong in order to crew on club boats.

It's sometimes hard to foster a strong social culture in a club whose members are primarily there for the moorage.

There are also clubs to foster racing and 'virtual' clubs that have no facilities but provide the common grounds for cruisers or racers depending on the club's focus.

"How much experience before you can be a skipper?"
As much as it takes to write the cheque ;)
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