the deck on my Pearson Ensign

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by LeRi222, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. seasailor55
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    seasailor55 Senior Member

    Ensign Refurbish

    PAR,

    I'd contemplated adding sweep to the sheer since its all exposed, the deck is going to have to be built from scratch, and I love boats with springy sheer and traditional transoms. My main concern was creating difficulties for myself in regard to deck beams and the deck crown, if I altered the straight sheer of the Ensign (wasn't sure if that would get me in way over my head).

    I like the idea of positive flotation provided by reasonably sealed air spaces, instead of all that foam taking up space. We're not comtemplating any serious offshore sailing with this boat anyway. That would require a lot of safety equipment: life raft, full instrumentation, radios, EPIRB, etc.

    Thanks for the advice and technical details.

    "The best bilge pump is a frightened man with a horse bucket!"
     
  2. seasailor55
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    seasailor55 Senior Member

    Paul,

    Excellent point. The boom is 11'1", plus the roller furling gear on the end, which just might tempt someone when no one's around. As far as ingress, I was considering installing a locking door on each side of the mast in the foredeck bulkhead. (approx. 30"x30" each)
     
  3. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    Just be sure those openings are above the waterline in the case of a knockdown. If they aren't you risk downflooding and sinking. This is a typical problem with old J24s and their aft lockers.

    Also, with only an opening on the bulkhead and not in the deck above it you will need to slither like a snake to get in and out. Maybe not the most comfortable thing for some people.
     
  4. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    The Ensign as designed is, I believe, able to float (just) when capsized, enough to take a tow.
    I wonder if a classic springy sheer wouldn't require the jib tack being raised too much to allow the sail to fit.
    Cabin vs crowned deck: PAR's idea about the fore/aft girders makes sense. They could be incorporated into the cabin sides so that they would gusset down forward and tab into the forepeak bulkhead.
    Having a cuddy house allows a place for coamings to land, and coamings are very nice to have. Not a lot of freeboard on that boat. Good for hanging cleats, fenders, and winches as well.
    Having a smaller than original main hatch is a good idea. The original is rather large. Drop boards are easy and stronger and just need the top board to have a capping piece to shed rain. Also a place to hang a compass bracket.
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The above image is what the old version Ensign looks like and the lower is an open cockpit version. The sheer is unchanged and I'll repeat changing the sheer is difficult and you'll lose potions, if not all of the deck flange. This could be remedied with a sheer clamp/carlin/nailer, but none the less a difficult task for the novice.

    The last time I cut a new sheer on a production boat I lowered one 4" amidship, 3" at the bow and slightly less at the transom. It literally took all day to position the batten on each side of the boat just to draw a line with a fine line "Sharpie", to make the cut. It's an eyeball thing and you can't walk around her enough and check enough different angles to insure this is where you want to cut. You have to be especially confidant about what a sheer line is supposed to look like before you cut.

    Now that I've frightened you out of cutting the sheer, the transom is easier if you want to make it differently, such as elliptical or an aft raking counter. This third image has a little spring in the sheer and a counter (the original is the gray dotted line). The coming is slightly different and the cockpit seat has been wrapped around to form a bridge deck. Paul B has a few good points to consider, though I suspect the boom could be partly stowed under the side deck and fore deck.

    The last image is the blister deck, which offer not quite the same headroom as the original cabin, but enough to suffice in a sudden rain squall. It's not as long either making the cockpit about a foot longer. This could be strip planked and you could skip the beams, stringers, etc. Naturally it retains the stock sheer and transom, which is in keeping with the style change. The profile of this to the stock boat is pretty dramatic and makes her look considerably more modern.
     

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  6. BobBill
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    BobBill Senior Member

    Ensign Refurbish

    Par, Great drawings. Had no idea the boat was made that way early on. Will be big help to seasailor...

    I keep thinking that the mast will need to be braced at deck level in some way, if it does not contact it as in pics. Seems to me that there was some pressure in windy conditions on my boat as we cranked down the vang and it flexed from that point up. From step to deck was fairly straight, but not sure anymore. Been a few years.

    And it may sound as though I was dim in those days, but the flotation was inside, along rails between seat backs and hull, inside to stern.
     
  7. seasailor55
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    seasailor55 Senior Member

    PAR,

    I really like the drawings. It is sometimes hard to visualize these things, although I've been playing around with and redrawing Ensign and Electra profiles ever since I got the boat. The second drawing with the counter stern really appeals to me and I have few questions. Since you've scared me out of modifying the sheer, how about the original sheer with a counter stern? I realize that an upswept bow and springy sheer seem more in harmony with the counter stern, much as reverse transoms seem to go more with straight sheered plumb bow designs (this may just be my opinion, however). My other question concerns waterline length. I've always understood that waterline length is a direct factor in sailboat speed and that many older designs, particularly racing boats, with long overhangs and short waterlines depended on the increased waterline length created by the overhangs when heeled for additional speed. Do you think that by reversing the reverse transom (strange terminology here) and thereby shortening the overall length of the boat, thus reducing the waterline of the boat when heeled, would be of any significance here, or is the difference too small to even make this a factor? Your thoughts, please.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Lengthening her LWL isn't an easy job and isn't really necessary. This boat picks up WL length as she heels, it's a function of the design. To properly lengthen her LWL you'd have to reshape much of the forward half of the boat, which though doable, is just impractical.
    Actually the sheer isn't perfectly straight, it's slightly "sheered". If it was perfectly straight it would look like it had a slight reverse sheer to her. On the one where I've added some "sweep" the bow remains at the same height, as does the top of the transom, but just aft of midships is lowered a few inches. Of course, getting the sweep in the right location is a bugger to say the least, though doable if you have a good eye. In fact, you could probably use a projector to get it moderately close from a drawing. Naturally, there will be distortions when you blow things up this big, from the lens and from attempting to wrap around the shape of the boat, but it'll be close where it counts (midship). I guess I'm trying to talk you back into changing the sheer. I recommend trying to mark the sheer with a pleasing sweep. I'd use a 24' light weight batten for this, on a boat that size. Some spring clamps along the top to keep it in position, as you stand well back and look at it from every angle you can.

    Putting a traditional counter stern on her, will not change the length of the WL. The transom is well clear of the LWL, even after it's modified.

    There are good and bad points about each concept. I like the updated look, which retains the stock sheer, eliminating that issue and the reverse transom is in keeping with this style, again saving you the bother and difficulty in shaping a new one (you have enough to do). The blister deck is about as easy as it gets and has more accommodations space and a slightly better purchase on the mast (further away from the heel). This particular concept addresses only what you need, which are a fore deck, cabin and cockpit, without creating additional work.

    On the other hand the transom change isn't terribly difficult, you simple cut and paste a new piece of plywood, tab it in and call it a day. Hell, you could even apply a mahogany veneer to it and have everyone think you have a wooden boat! I've done this several times to 'glass boats and it's easy.

    The open boat increases cockpit space, but you lose the height of the cabin, which makes it just a stowage area (which is what it really is anyway). The look is a dramatic change, which is good and you now have room for a handful of kids if you want. The open boat would require a king plank or athwart beam at the partners to absorb and transmit rigging loads to the hull, but this is a fairly easy thing.

    As for which "upgrade" to apply, well, you're the one that's going to be cussing and itching, so you have the lovely task of working the pros and cons on each.

    The open cockpit concept is simple, but the cabin goes bye, bye. The blister is interesting, but do you want a modern version of a nearly 50 year old boat? Some will consider this sacrilege and expect you to be drawn and quartered for doing such a thing. Lastly, the sheer and transom modifications have no sailing or user quantifiable values. They are just to pretty her up, which in itself isn't a bad thing, but more work on a boat that needs major surgery, just to sail again.
     
  9. seasailor55
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    seasailor55 Senior Member

    PAR,

    Thanks for answering my questions, and for the great concept drawings. The open cockpit version of the Ensign (1st drawing, no changes to the sheer or transom - keep it simple) looks great and do-able. I'm assuming that there would be a bulkhead somewhere under the foredeck that could seal off an air space and provide support for the deck. (I still have qualms about open boats with full keels, hence my preference for closable cabins) As you mentioned, even with the Ensign's low cabin, it's still essentially a storage area, so headroom should not be an issue. Just a place to put sails, outboard, life jackets, etc. I like the forward hatch as it would be perfect for accessible anchor storage, and I really like that big cockpit. The curved coaming looks classy, is a nice touch, and would keep spray and water on the deck and out of the cockpit. I've been tempted to do the counter stern, but as you have tactfully pointed out, there's plenty to do on this boat already. I can always go back and modify it later, if I choose to do so, but I think the existing one will do fine. As for a cabin, I could possibly add a small crowned one with the coaming as the sides later, if necessary, but it probably won't be. We'll see.
     
  10. seasailor55
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    seasailor55 Senior Member


    I've taken some pictures which I hope will convey the current state of the boat. I'm waiting for the moderators to approve them (apparently all attachments must pass muster). I'll post a link to a picture folder as soon as I'm able.

    seasailor55
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I've taken a look at your pictures and you've got some project there, doable but well withing the "I want to commit suicide" category.

    I was contacted recently by a buddy out west who wants me to help get his Electra (the forerunner to your boat) going again, so it's old Person old home week for some reason.

    I'd forgotten how antiquated it's rig is.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    Do yourself a big favor and strip the boat of all it's hardware. Itemize and label each piece for assembly later.

    Next remove all the stuff that doesn't belong to this boat, the port seat, home made mast step, the partial bulkheads, everything that isn't going to stay in the boat. I can't see what's going on with the transom, but it looks like a wooden hatchet job there too, so yank it out.

    This should leave you with a hull shell and nothing else except some tabbing where things use to live. Grind all the flanges and the seat stringers with a coarse disk sander. Wear long sleeves, gloves and dust mask, this is the itchy stuff so protect your self. Working (closely) up wind of a big box fan is handy, it'll suck off the dust. In fact, go to Good Will and get some throw away cloths as you don't want them in the house or the washer.

    The freshly ground areas now are prepped for gluing something to them. This means you need a plan.

    While you're thinking about this plan, consider changing the rig to single lowers or athwart lowers, rather then the double lowers setup it currently has. You'll be able to remove two of the wires and move the other two to the cap shroud chain plate. This opens up deck space and greatly simplifies the rig. There's no reason in the world why to need double lowers on a 16' 9" LWL boat of this displacement. Let me check the wire and hardware dimensions, before this change, but I see no reason to have 6 chain plates when 2 will suffice.
     
  12. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Wow. Or you could...
    Seasailor, you've got guts, I'll say that.
     
  13. seasailor55
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    seasailor55 Senior Member

    Either that or I'm crazy! The plan is to upgrade the boat one step at a time, based on the many useful comments and suggestions I'm getting on this forum.
    Believe it or not, my very first concept was to redo this boat as an Electra (same hull, with a smaller self-bailing cockpit and larger cabin with 4 bunks) but with a simpler truck cabin instead of the multi level doghouse cabin. I quickly realized how much work that would be, on top of what is already needed, and decided to stay with the daysailor concept, and simplify even that, it if I could.
    I have some time over the next few weeks and plan, as recommended, to strip the hull of all the old wooden parts in preparation for new sheer stringers, bulkheads, framing, etc. Please keep the comments and ideas coming, because it seems that every post has something from which I can glean and incorporate into my plans. Thanks to everyone for bearing with me and my derelict Ensign.
     
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  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The Electra had a deck stepped mast, which is why it likely came with double lowers. To make the Ensign an Electra, you'd have to cut the mast, which isn't the best idea in the world, though stepping a keel stepped mast is a pain in the ***. The mast itself isn't that heavy, but if you're getting old like me, it's not something you want to hefting around in the parking lot of a boat ramp every time you launch either. The Ensign was designed to sit on a mooring or berth until it's time to play.

    Yep, strip her (my other half loves it when I talk like that) and level the playing field. You have lots of options to think about, materials and supplies to gather and a place to do this in, without the neighbors getting all pissy about the heap of junk across the street destroying their view of your garbage cans or something equally important, like the community mail boxes.
     

  15. seasailor55
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    seasailor55 Senior Member

    No problem with the place to do this. I live on the end of a 600' driveway out in the country (no subdivision restrictions here) on 2-1/2 acres with a 24'x40' barn. I operate power saws, air compressors, a welding machine, etc. freely on my property. Today, my plan is stripping out wood that needs replacing. (Welcome back, Mr. Saws-all)

    As far as hefting that mast, (and it's a handful) I plan to keep the boat at our local yacht club on its trailer with the mast stepped and sails under covers, with a cockpit cover that snaps to the coaming and suspended from the boom. As to simplifying the rig, I once owned a South Coast 21 (also a 60's Alberg design) with a similar fractional rig: Forestay, backstay, cap shrouds, and it only had one set of lower shrouds that terminated at the deck slightly aft of the mast. If I could, as you suggested, terminate the lower shrouds at the cap shroud chainplate, it would certainly simplify things. I wonder if I would need a beefier chainplate attachment to the hull there to handle the extra load, or if the current one will suffice?
     
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