Fleet Captain - Andrew Larson
THE ENSIGN is a sleek, low-profile keelboat. It’s an Alberg design a lot like an early Singer sewing machine, "indestructible". Its deep, large, eight-foot comfortable cockpit makes it ideal for cruising & day-sailing. The cuddy cabin has 2 bunks for an overnight, and its sturdy design makes it a great racer for tough going. It is supported by a large, and active National organization of 69 fleets across the US. There were 37 Ensigns at the starting line for the 1998 Nationals at Menominee, Mich. Its easy to sail, even single-handedly, but challenging to sail competively. At last count there were over 32 Ensigns on Lake Minnetonka. WYC is the home of Ensign Fleet #20 established in 1965. It was one of the origional fleets that started the club. At the Yacht club we are, at present, a congenial group of 15 boats and race as a one-design fleet.
The Ensign was built by Pearson Boats in Bristol, RI from 1962 through 1982 in all, 1776 boats. All parts and supplies are available through the National Association. It has been proven by National Regattas over the years that age of the boat (or skipper for that matter) has no bearing on the outcome of the race. The Ensign ages gracefully and without infirmity The price of a used Ensign varies from an economical $2500 to $7000 depending on the amount of restoration your willing to do and the number, age & condition of sails. One of the reasons the Ensign is so comfortable to day-sail and tough for racing is its 1200 lbs of lead at the bottom of its 3’ full keel. The boat is very tender to about 15 degrees of heel and then stiffens up significantly. It is both self righting and has positive flotation. It weedy waters as often encountered in Lake Minnetonka the placement of the rudder at the aft of the full keel makes it unencumbered by weed beds.
The sail plan makes the Ensign responsive in a wide range of wind velocities.