4 ksb chronicles
So I have been sailing Ensigns since 1976 (and lurking here since 2004). One of my earliest recollections of sailing an Ensign was when I was crewing on a boat in Marquette, Michigan while I was going to school in Houghton. I did what any other normal college student would do, cut class on Wednesday afternoon and hitch hike 90 miles to go sailing. On this particular afternoon the cars weren’t stopping to pick me up like I had planned and I got to the yacht club just in time to see that my ride had already left the dock. Without hesitation I tossed my gear bag over a locked gate on the longest dock in the harbor, climbed around the outside of the fence and sprinted down the dock. My skipper saw me running and altered course to pick me up. We went out and won the race that night. After crewing for a number of years I managed to find an Ensign for sale and bought it, that was 22 years ago,(yeah, that’s another story).
Since then, for me, there have been countless other Wednesday night races, a dozen Regional contests and a handful of National Regattas. Each one has two things in common, the people and the boat. The people that sail Ensigns are an eclectic mix of old stalwarts and young upstarts. The older group have been sailing this boat since the mid 60’s and know every trick in the book. The young guys have found a diamond in the rough and have latched on to a boat that they can afford to sail and race, They are all welcoming generous people that would do anything in their power to help a fellow sailor, especially if it means getting another Ensign on the starting line. The boat is one whose classic lines captures your eye like you were seeing that first short skirt in spring after a long winter (or perhaps looking at a picture of a fireman in a calendar, something I would personally know nothing about). The Ensign was inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame in 2002 and is a craft that many sailors have raced or day sailed on at some point in their lives.
I have been the beneficiary of the generosity of the Ensign Class and their small army of volunteers that assemble each year to put on the Regional and National Regattas. This year, after a bit of coaxing, the honor of hosting the Ensign Nationals was bestowed on Fleet 35 in Marquette Michigan. I drew the short straw and was appointed as chairperson, my turn to pay back the Ensign Class in some small measure for all the years of fun they have afforded me.
I am sure there are a number of readers that have dutifully performed and lived through the experience of being the chairperson for a national level regatta, however, at this moment in time I am having a great degree of difficulty chewing all that I have bitten off. I have been lucky to find a number of sub-committee chairpersons within our ranks that have volunteered to oversee racing, events, public relations, finance and housing. In addition, the help we have received from the Ensign Class Association has been invaluable. Our current commodore, Russ Carr and longstanding secretary Kay Snider are my personal heroes.
So get to the point already, eh ! After a quick exchange of e-mails with the ED, he suggested I put something together for the mythical front page. In part to pique your interest in our event and also to sidestep buying an ad and subsequently hearing about it on every third post.
We are on track to host between 40 and 50 boats at this years regatta and currently have skippers and crew members entered from the US, Canada, Great Britain and Japan. Our Japanese competitor, Takehiko Tsutsumi, is the owner of the only Ensign in Japan, hull number 2012. Take has graciously accepted our invitation to compete in this event (in a borrowed boat with local crew) so we could have the skipper of Ensign 2012 in the 2012 Nationals. A perfect photo op if I ever saw one. We also have a veteran PRO of several Ensign Nationals, Mr. Jim Titgemeyer on board to get things started and finished. In addition to the racing we have been just as busy putting the evening social events together and looking for event sponsors. In the end I am sure that, as always, the combination of the people and the boat will make it another memorable event. (I only hope that I don’t have to use the insanity defence by then).
So what can you do? I would be willing to bet that a number of members here on SA have an Ensign story to tell, by all means post it in the thread. My second bet is that there are a number of Ensign owners out there lurking, sitting on the fence, waiting to make a decision on weather to come to Nationals this year or not. Please know that you are cordially invited to join us. We would love to have you as our guests in Marquette.
Check out our website. if you have any questions feel free to make an inquiry. If we can give you an answer without lying too much we would be happy to do so. And lastly, we would love to add your business to our growing list of sponsors. Drop me a line and we will get you set up. Oh yeah, just for the record the theoretical hull speed for an Ensign is 6.1 knots. 😉