swan song

The brief history of Ensign  #4…

The boat, then named Summer Squall was acquired by Norman Dodds and brother Bill Dodds in June of 2022 from Walter Powers who owned the boat for almost 40 years, and who crewed as a teenager for the previous owner George Pardee.

The boat had been swamped in a thunderstorm and sustained significant damage to the hull and deck and had not been sailed for years. With some 400+ man-hours of the restoration effort, the original hull was stripped/sanded to the original light blue gel coat, the original deck re-cored and repaired, all re-painted, all teak replaced, all new Harken hardware installed, all new standing rigging/mast / boom, all new running rigging, all new Quantum Sails….. to gain entry into the 2023 Ensign Nationals in Pentwater Michigan.

The boat was re-named eyjafjallajokull ( after a volcano in Iceland ) and was skippered by 30-year-old Allison Price, with her father Pete Price trimming, Chad Hough calling all tactics on foredeck and Frank Reeg on trimming /tactics finished in 11th place of 36 the boats entered, with top finishes of 2nd, 4th and 7th in the shortened three-day regatta pending day four wind/thunderstorms.

The four aboard had not sailed the boat together prior to day one of the regatta and in total the boat was sailed only twice the prior two days. On the early morning of the scheduled/cancelled final day of the regatta the boat was struck by lightning and caught fire and burned virtually to the waterline.

Ironic, given the fact that there were over 40 Ensigns in the Pentwater harbor that day and many other larger sailboats nearby.

It’s a true testament to the beautiful design and construction that a 1962 Pearson Ensign can be saved from a certain land-fill-grave ending and be restored to be competitive at the top of the Ensign Class.
We all have stories that will last a lifetime from this all too brief re-birth of Pearson Ensign hull # 4.