Pearson Ensign

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Class symbol
DesignerCarl Alberg
LocationUnited States
No. built1776
Builder(s)Pearson Yachts, Ensign Spars
Displacement3,000 lb (1,361 kg)
Draft3.00 ft (0.91 m)
LOA22.50 ft (6.86 m)
LWL16.75 ft (5.11 m)
Beam7.00 ft (2.13 m)
Engine typeOutboard motor
Hull appendages
Keel/board typelong keel
Ballast1,200 lb (544 kg)
Rudder(s)keel-mounted rudder
Rig typeBermuda rig
I foretriangle height25.00 ft (7.62 m)
J foretriangle base7.50 ft (2.29 m)
P mainsail luff25.42 ft (7.75 m)
E mainsail foot11.08 ft (3.38 m)
SailplanFractional rigged sloop
Mainsail area140.83 sq ft (13.084 m2)
Jib/genoa area93.75 sq ft (8.710 m2)
Total sail area234.58 sq ft (21.793 m2)
Class associationMORC

The Pearson Ensign, or Ensign 22, is an American trailerable sailboat that was designed by Carl Alberg as a one-design racer and day sailer and first built in 1962. It is the largest full-keel one-design keelboat class in the United States.[1][2][3][4][5]

The Ensign is a development of the Pearson Electra.[1][5]


The design was built by Pearson Yachts of Bristol, Rhode Island and later by Ensign Spars of Dunedin, Florida, both in the United States. A total of 1776 examples were completed, but the design is now out of production.[1][6]


The Ensign was developed from the Alberg-designed Electra. The Electra design was a commission by Pearson Yachts in 1959 to produce a Midget Ocean Racing Club (MORC) racer. The resulting design was quite successful and about 350 were completed during its six-year production run. Pearson's dealers thought that customers would prefer a design with a bigger cockpit and less space below decks for use in one-design racing and day sailing. Alberg designed the Ensign using the same hull, but with the mast moved 6 in (15 cm) forward, a larger mainsail and smaller fore-triangle.[1]

The resulting design was initially called the Electra Day Sailor and 219 examples were sold in 1962, the first year of production. In 1963, 213 more boats were produced.[1]


The Ensign is a recreational keelboat, built predominantly of fiberglass, with balsawood cores and wood trim. It has a fractional sloop rig, a spooned raked stem, a raised reverse transom, a keel-mounted rudder controlled by a tiller and a fixed long keel. It has foam flotation, making it unsinkable. The only class-permitted mast adjustment while sailing is the backstay which is controlled by a turnbuckle. The boat displaces 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) and carries 1,200 lb (544 kg) of ballast.[1][4]

The cuddy cabin has two berths and may be fitted with an optional stove. The cabin has headroom of 3 ft 10 in (117 cm). The cockpit is 8 ft 8 in (264 cm) and features a teak wood sole, coamings and seats.[4]

The boat has a draft of 3.00 ft (0.91 m) with the standard long keel and is normally fitted with a small 3 to 5 hp (2 to 4 kW) outboard motor for docking and maneuvering.[1][5]

The design has sleeping accommodation for two people, with a double "V"-berth in the bow cabin. The head is located in the bow cabin under the bow "V"-berth. Cabin headroom is 36 in (91 cm).[5]

The design has a PHRF racing average handicap of 258 and a hull speed of 5.48 kn (10.15 km/h).[5][7]

Operational history[edit]

The boat is supported by an active class club, the Pearson Yachts Portal.[8]

Racing fleets were first formed when the design entered production, in 1962. The first fleet was formed in Larchmont, New York. By 1963 nine more fleets had been formed, with locations in Houston, Texas; Hingham, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Huntington, New York, Port Washington, New York; Miami, Florida; Gibson Island, Maryland and Falmouth, Maine.[1]

By 1994 there were 47 fleets sailing in 20 US states.[4]

In a 2010 review Steve Henkel wrote, "The Ensign is a daysailer-overnighter and one-design racing version of the Pearson Electra cruiser ... Compared to the Electra, she has the same hull, but a tiny cuddy cabin with two bunks, and a much larger cockpit that can hold 8 (or 3 or 4 while racing). Since the year 2000, Ensigns have been built by Ensign Spars of Dunedin, [Florida]. Best features: She is a competent, forgiving, stable, and easy-to-sail one-design class racer. Over the years a strong class organization has developed ... A deep cockpit gives the Ensign above-average crew comfort. With an optional toilet, cushions for the bunks, and perhaps air mattresses for extra sleeping space in the cockpit under a boom tent if desired, she can be made into a plain-jane but reasonably comfortable weekender. Used boat prices can be quite attractive. Worst features: This boat was once considered fast, but that's no longer true compared to modern racing designs—and many of the boats are getting quite old and less competitive, though you can still find fleets to race with here and there. The cockpit is not self-bailing, so a boom tent is required to keep rain from filling her when her crew is not in attendance."[5]

American Sailboat Hall of Fame[edit]

The Ensign was inducted into the now-defunct Sail America American Sailboat Hall of Fame in 2002. In honoring the design the hall cited, "She is rarely the belle of the ball. In fact, some hotshots have even been known to call Ensigns 'tubby' as they go zipping by in their dripping-wet performance dinghies. But a funny thing tends to happen when sailors stop to take a closer look at this long lived one-design racer and family daysailer. They notice the old girl is more attractive than they thought. In fact, she's got some pretty nice curves. Before they know it they're in love. ... Stable, comfortable, maybe a bit plain, the Ensign nonetheless has a deep-seated quality that inevitably shines through. No doubt the boat will be taking families and racers sailing for generations to come."[9]

See also[edit]

Related design

Similar sailboats


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Browning, Randy (2019). "Ensign (Pearson) sailboat specifications and details". Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  2. ^ McArthur, Bruce (2021). "Pearson Yachts 1958 - 1990". Archived from the original on 28 November 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  3. ^ Browning, Randy (2018). "Carl Alberg". Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Sherwood, Richard M.: A Field Guide to Sailboats of North America, Second Edition, page 116-117. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. ISBN 0-395-65239-1
  5. ^ a b c d e f Henkel, Steve: The Sailor's Book of Small Cruising Sailboats, page 191. International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2010. ISBN 978-0-07-163652-0
  6. ^ Ensign Spars (2018). "Products". Archived from the original on 10 June 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  7. ^ InterVisionSoft LLC (2019). "Sailboat Specifications for Pearson Ensign". Sailing Joy. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  8. ^ McArthur, Bruce (2021). "Pearson Yacht Owners Portal". Archived from the original on 7 October 2021. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  9. ^ Sail America. "Ensign". Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2019.

External links[edit]