August 2017 HYC Windjammer
By: John E. Cutler, Commodore Ensign Class Association
The “little big boat” Daysailer/Racer
The HYC Summer Series races were scheduled to begin on Saturday July 15. Unfortunately, the summer afternoon storms arrived that day and lowered the temperature from the 90s to the mid 70s. That was the good news. The bad news was the rain, lightening strikes and stiff breeze from the east supported the Ensign racers (four boats) decision to not leave the harbor to race. The second summer series races will be Saturday 29 July. I am looking forward to better weather conditions and to seeing 5 to 6 Ensigns on the windward/leeward race course.
Sitting in the Beachcomber after we decided not to race gave me some time to think about all of the Ensigns on pier 10, the ones that usually race, the ones that go daysailing periodically and the ones that never seem to leave their slips.
In a recent ECA Governing Committee meeting, Vince Morvillo gave the Committee some excellent guidelines for promoting and marketing the Ensign one-design sailboat. His primary recommendation was to promote the Ensign as a family daysailor, a sailboat for novice sailors to learn to sail and a sailboat for families to enjoy being on the water together. In fact, there are many examples of where Ensigns have become “members” of the family to be kept in the family or passed down from generation to generation. At HYC #1103, Ed and Marsha Bluestein’s Adjourn and #943, Laura and Daniel Dalgleish’s Ouija are examples of families’ long-time devotion and care for their Ensign.
The objectives of the Ensign Class Association are:
A. To promote and develop Ensign class racing under uniform rules.
B. To rigidly maintain the one-design features of the Ensign.
C. To promote the use of the Ensign as a family boat for recreational sailing.
D. To educate the public, and particularly the youth, in sailing and sailboat racing, with emphasis on safe boat handling and the use of the proper and necessary equipment for sailboats.
Granted, family sailing is third on the list, but in the Ensign brochure’s list of attributes, “recreational daysailer for up to seven people” is at the top of the list, followed by “competitive racer with skipper plus three crew, stable, full keel for smooth handling, large cockpit, and small cuddy cabin for sails and gear.” The August 2017 issue of Sail Magazine includes the Ensign in its article 100 years of Boats, A look at the evolution of one-design over the years.
In the article Adam Cort states, “In later years, as then radical fiberglass construction came to be more widely accepted, it was used to build such one-design keelboats as the drop-dead gorgeous S&S design Shields , and the immortal and virtually indestructible Carl Alberg-design Ensign, which remains the largest class of full-keel sailboats to this day(underlined added for emphasis). Again the hallmark of both of these and plenty others too numerous to mention is that they serve their owners equally well wiling away a lazy summer day as they do mixing it up on the race course.”
Ensigns were initially built by Pearson Yachts from 1962 – 1983. Thanks to the “virtually indestructible Carl Alberg design” there are over 1500 Ensign sailing out of the 1,775 built by Pearson Yachts. Ensign Spars, Inc. has built 34 new Ensigns since 2000.
So if you are looking for a safe, family friendly sailboat that you can daysail or race contact a HYC Ensign owner or visit the new Ensign class website –www.ensignclass.com and click on Buy an Ensign. There are currently three Ensigns for sale at HYC. As an owner you will appreciate the classic design, ease of handling and comfort while sailing that the Ensign provides. I enjoy racing my Ensign, but I also relish the time for a late afternoon sail on upper Galveston Bay or the annual Fleet 2’s 17-mile long cruise/fun race weekend to Double Bayou.