Pearson Ensign ( renovation help & advice )

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by George Poszich, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Greetings to everyone,

    I'm in the process of purchasing a early sixties Pearson Ensign for a comprehensive and full restoration, any help or advice from our forum members would be much appreciated. It would be impossible to offend me, so please feel free to be open, honest and frank with your comments. While I'm no stranger to boat repairs or a boat yard, this will be my first and only attempt to undertake such a project. My sailing history spans twenty years, mostly in Florida in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. My sailing vessels over that period began with a Hobie-16, and ending with a Gulfstar-37 with four additional boats in between.

    The overall plan would look something like this. When the boat is home and properly secured on the hard, I'll remove all of the deck hardware, sand the entire hull to its original gelcoat finish, repair any hull damage blistering etc, rebuild the rudder and repair and fair the deck where needed. Once the hull and deck are together, I'll remove the wood benches, cockpit sole and bulkhead. At this juncture I plan on replacing the mast step as a minimum and repairing any damage to the cabin interior, I'll also inspect the chain plates and bilge and repair as necessary. Once the cabin interior is completed I'll rebuild the bulkhead, cockpit sole and benches, and finally refinish the hull.

    I'm hopeful that between those wonderful YouTube how to videos, and the generosity of our forum members I can gain sufficient expertise to have a successful project. My schedule would be to have this jewel of a Daysailer ready to launch this fall in Florida.

    Just for starters, here's a question on something I've given little thought to in the past, but would like to better understand now. I plan on refitting this Ensign with a new double reef main and a 140 for starters. i would like your comments on Roach vcs no Roach on the main. My planned use for this boat is to let my son who lives in Jacksonville Florida use the boat from Novembrt to March primarily on the St. John's River, then I'll use the boat on the lower Chesapeake Bay throughout the summer months. We are both recreational sailors and are not interested in peak performance or racing, I'm too old and too tired to care about that anymore.

    A great day to all, and thanks to those who respond.
    Regards

    George Poszich
     
  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    George, your text implies that you know what you are doing and what it may take to get the boat in sound condition. It is an oldie but you may be able to make it a goodie.

    As for the sails, roach or no roach, I refer you to the book: Sailmakers Apprentice by Emiliano Marino. Not that you might want to make your own sails but the authors advice is no roach. He is adamant about that and one of the biggest reasons is that the main can do without battens which he reckons are trouble making instruments of the devil. Performance loss, if any, will be minimal. If you are a racer type then adding roach is the standard practice.

    In my mind A 140 jenny is a bit much for a leisure boat. The Saint Johns is a great place to sail but the limitations of the river will cause a need to tack more than if you were at sea. If you sail the ICW there are also width limitations that would make for frequent tacking in some conditions. Big Jenny? I am old and lazy I might like a small foresail on a club. Easier to singlehand among other things.

    Keep us posted about your progress and good luck with that project.
     
  3. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Hello Messabout,
    I'm not surprised to hear you say the performance difference would be minimal, I,m old myself and not in much of a hurry these days either. I lived in Florida for twenty years, 10-years in the Tampa area and 10-years in the West Palm Beach area, and know what you mean about the ICW, too many bridges, too many boats and very little water, it's a royal pain. I'll look up the reference you gave and I greatful for it, thanks. I ride a carbon fiber road bike, it's roughly eight years old, I paid $2,000 for it way back then, some of the guys I ride with have $10,000 bicycle, we always arrive together and its impossible to detect any performance differences. I love my cheap bicycle, not sure what the cost difference between a main with roach and battens vcs no roach would be, but if the performance difference is negligible, I'll consider a straight cut sail, simplicity is never a bad option.

    Have a great day,
    Regards
    George Poszich
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I disagree in that the performance difference will be negligible. Battens can dramatically increase area dn this is power, plain and simple. A few inches of roach isn't going to add much, but this doesn't have to be the case. The Ensign has about a 25' leach, so a simple 6" roach will add 12 more sq. ft. to the area, making an 8 percent increase to the main. A fat roach, of say a foot, doubles this and wouldn't be unreasonable to hold out with well placed battens. Marino's approuch to sailmaking is a bit old school and many think (of this mind set) roaches a fad and a contrivance, but this flies in the face of the realities of modern sail design.

    All this said, the Ensign is limited to LWL restraints, so this extra area will only help in lighter wind strengths, as she's not going to go any faster then her shape limitations will permit. It's in lighter wind strengths that we wish for more area, but often don't have it. Battened sails are not troublesome, not difficult to manage. I wouldn't want a hollow roached Bermudian of any configuration, particularly a sloop with its limited hoist options.
     
  5. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Hello PAR,
    I appreciate your comments, most certainly light air commands all the sail area you can muster, we are in agreement on that. i honestly don't have a opinion on roach vcs no roach, as most all of the boats I've owned over the years have had battented sails with some sort of roach. A Catalina-25, Irwin-30 & Gulfstar-37, these are all a bit different in my mind, as they had more of a fin keel as opposed to a full keel. The Ensign is a new animal to me with its weight and full keel, what I'm hoping for is to gather a consensus from guys like you, that have experience with this type of boat, and buy the best combination of sails for the boat. i have another question I would like for you to weigh in on, I will most likel buy two new sails for this boat for starters. A main with a double reef, and one foresail. At some point I would like to have three foresails, which one would you buy first, second and third. They will all be hank on, and for now I'll forget the spinnaker. Summer sailing in the Chesapeake and winter sailing in Jacksonville on the St. John's.

    Again, thanks for the advice and I appreciate the comments, I'm in uncharted waters with this Ensign and will be grateful for all who offer advice. For the record, I have no opposition to battens and have never had any difficulty in using them, I'm trying to get a better understanding of how they enhance the performance of a boat like the Ensign.

    The additional sail area provided by the roach sort of reminde me of an analogy I once heard explaining why a 3-phase electric motor is so much more efficient than a 1-phase motor, it went something like this ( a 3-phase motor has 3 separate stator windings all working together to spin the rotor, whereas a 1-phase motor has only two. Imagine three people in a canoe and only two paddles, the displacement of the canoe like that of a sail boat remains constant, this represents your main with no roach, now add a third saddle, in this case it's the roach, more power and less overall stress is the result. ) similar to the efficiency that a roach adds to a mails sail I would imagine.


    Thanks Again,
    George
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Having grown up on the Chesapeake and now living a few miles from the Saint Johns, you'll want as much area as you can get. Most sails you can find for the Ensign will have battens and a modest amount of roach.

    If I was buying a single headsail and main, I'd get a 110 and a standard Ensign main. Additionally, a 90% for building winds and a 130% for light air and reaching. You could also consider a roller furler, which can make hoisting and dousing easier. On my little ketch, I have a roller for each headsail and each is stored in a locker, rolled up, ready to hoist. I bring the rolled up sail inboard and drop the roller drum and sail into the top of the locker, then lower the halyard. Hoisting is the reverse of this procedure. A tackle lets me pull the drum inboard.

    Main type makes no difference on a full keel, compared to a fin. The only difference you'll notice is the maneuverability will be less crisp, compaired to the other boats you've owned, but it'll track straighter and will carry some momentum longer in light, fluky winds. Lastly a single reefed main is likely all you'll need, as once you're thinking about a second reef in the main, you'll be running for shore anyway. On thess occasions, you're often better off, just cranking up an outboard and powering in with more authority, regardless of wind direction.

    This is an older thread about someone else doign an Ensign restoration >http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/sailboats/deck-my-pearson-ensign-32174.html< and worth a good look, even if it's a long read. The beginning of this thread has a former member that consistently found perceived flaws in everyone else's posts (scan and skip over page 2 and you'll see what I mean). His penchant for this caused him to be removed from the forum, but once you get past his attempts to piss folks off, the thread has lots of good information in it.

    [​IMG]
    This is how his project ended up . . .
     
  7. George Poszich
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

    George Poszich Junior Member

    Hello PAR,
    Thanks for the thread on the Ensign restoration and your comments on the sails. Gratitude and diplomacy have always paid huge dividends, regardless of where or how they were used, nobody likes a smart ***. One of the biggest challenge when dealing with narcissistic people is this, the're the only ones without a clue what's going on. Apparently when you have already convinced you self you know it all, you fail to listen, that's why everyone else is wrong, you knew that.

    On to bigger and better things, today was a great day for me as least, I connected with some nice folks on Lake Norman near Charlotte NC and picked up a really nice Ensign, it's a 1981 late production boat Hull #1,754. It a fresh water boat and I believe it's lived its entire life on Lake Norman, perfect no blistering. A older gentleman donated the boat to his sailing club in a effort to support their ongoing programs and I was fortunate enough to find it before anyone else. I believe the donor may have been the original owner, now I can finally begin to make a detailed schedule for its restoration. I can't wait to get started, the boat will be coming home in March and I'm hoping to have her ready to launch in Jacksonville this fall. It's actually in excellent shape, hull, deck, bottom etc. the woodwork will require the most when it comes to determination and brute labor. I'm thinking of disassembling the benches and cockpit soul and pass the slats through a thickness plainer, that would be much easier than sanding decades of weathering, and I believe they would look much nicer in the end.

    Regards,
    George Poszich
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The cockpit sole and seating are known problem areas with thi,s as is the deck and it's supports. Also check the compression post and surrounding areas.
     

  9. Scot McPherson
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Location: New England

    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    Agreed about the cockpit. On my seasprite23 which is the same exact hull as the ensign was lacking support under the cockpit, and the cockpit was leaky and needed beefing up of glass around the edges. That meant crawling inside underneath the cockpit and working with sanding and epoxy in close tight underventilated quarters. Wear a proper mask, and work quickly. After beefing up the edges, I glassed in 2x4s beneath the cockpit along with flashing in some angle irons around the ends of the lumber up around the sides of the cockpit. It holds very well and I can jump on the cockpit now and I weigh quite a lot.
     
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