Frequently Asked Questions

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In This Section:

Sailing4.wmf (3046 bytes) Return To Home Page Or click "Outfitting For Cruising" for increased comfort ideas!
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) How Rough Will She Take It? "Thanks for the flush deck and high coamings Mr. Hess!"
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) How Tender Is She? ...at this point your standin' on your ear!
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) How Fast Does She Go? Have you ever heard the definition of sailing?
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) How Can You Tell Your Speed? Make a Poorman's depthsounder/knotmeter!
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) Why Does It Hum While Sailing? Because it doesn't know the words! ;-)
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) What Size Outboard? 5-6 HP with a 3 blade prop seems about right!
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) What About Maintenance? Very little required, lots usually done!
WHEEL1.JPG (903 bytes) What's A Fair Price? 10% less than these calculations is a real good deal!


Following are some frequently asked questions from the Trailer Sailor Message Board and specific Ensenada 20 queries through Sailnet.

Q. How rough will she take it?

A. The Ensenada 20 will take more than you’d expect.

In 4 foot (trough to crest) very steep waves as long as you have wind, she’ll reach and run with very little roll. (If anyone starts to turn a little green, get them out of the cabin, eyes focused on horizon, and don’t read, it should pass in a few minutes, if not gone too far). Close-hauled in 4 foot waves some spray will reach the cockpit but you can duck behind the raised pop-top (with dodger installed) to stay dry. Boarding waves (> 5 feet) tend to roll off the flush deck, whereas they are often directed back to the cockpit on the windward side deck of many trunk cabin boats. "Thanks for the flush deck and high forward coamings Mr. Hess".

Q. How tender is the Ensenada 20?

A. Typical for a 20 foot trailerable sailboat.

With almost exactly a 3:1 displacement to ballast ratio, and almost 10 lbs displacement for each square foot of sail area, the E20 would be stiffer than average. However, with some of the keel carried above the hull bottom, and substantial weight aloft with the heavy spreaderless mast, the E20 comes out about average.

With full main and 110% jib the E20 heels:
8 degrees at 5 knots
12 degrees at 8 knots
20 degrees at 12 knots
30 degrees at 15 knots
40 degrees at 18 knots
parr2.jpg (70873 bytes) With enough experience, you can estimate windspeed, by the amount of heel. In this photo (shot in Parry Sound Ont.) we're heeling about 20 degrees, putting the windspeed at around 12 knots, and SOG (speed over ground) at about 5.5 knots.

...and she’ll round up (rudder comes out of the water and she automatically turns into the wind and levels) at just over 50 degrees (you’re standin’ on your ear at this point).

You should be at hull speed somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees of heel, and you won't go any faster by healing more. However, without infinitely variable reefing, if you reduce sail too early, you may have difficulty making good headway.

While it’s fun to put the rail down, it does get tiring after a while, so when the thrill starts wearing off, we generally reduce sail at 30 degrees heel to drop back to about 15 degrees as follows:

Full main and jib to 15 knots
Reefed main and jib from 15 to 25 knots
Full main from 25 to 35 knots
Reefed main above 35 knots

The worst "blow" we’ve been caught in to date was a sunny (thank God) 45 knots on the nose. With reefed main alone we couldn’t do better than a beam reach (OK it was a bit of a scramble to get the reef in and the shape wasn't great), and raced about a mile constantly on the verge of rounding up, till we ducked behind an island and anchored until the calm of the next morning.

Q. How fast does the Ensenada 20 go?

A. All displacement (non-planing) boats are limited by the water line length (LWL). The E20 LWL = 17.5 ft, putting the theoretical hull speed at 5.6 knots (6.4 mph).

The theoretical hull speed may be used as a reference to compare the relative maximum speed of boats with differing waterline lengths. In reality, the conditions required (optimum sail efficiency, minimum drag, and sufficient wind force for sail area) may not exist to achieve "hull speed". Similarly, it is possible to exceed 5.6 knots by surfing (catching waves from astern such that the speed limiting bow and stern waves slide forward in unison with the wind wave).

From a racing standpoint, there is little PHRF data available due to the limited number of E20's being raced. Current listings rate the PHRF from 288 (which seems a little fast) to 317 (which seems a little slow). There is currently a Calfornia Club reference to an Ensenada with a 264 PHRF rating, however this is believed to apply to a home built Ensenada 25 (different design altogether) with a cutter rig. Using PHRF data, under identical conditions a boat rated 317 should take 29 seconds longer than one rated 288, to travel a mile. (317-288 = 29).

For cruising purposes (assuming 8+ knots of wind) we expect to average 3 mph. Our best days sail to date was was from Kagawong on Manitoulin Island to Heywood Island, (approx. 30 miles) in just over 5 hours, including a short stop at Little Current to reprovision, get a pumpout, fill coolers with ice, and about a 5 minute wait for the swing bridge to open. (OK, we also turned off our broad reach in 20 knots to occasionally surf on the odd 5 foot wave).

The best recorded speed over ground (SOG) made good to date was on a dead run up Long Reach, with swing keel up, and 15 knots astern. We surfed on a 2 foot wave for about 2 minutes hitting 8 mph. (If you’re used to power boats this sounds pretty slow, but it’s quite a thrill when you’re sailing).

Q. How do you know how fast you’re going?

A. If you have a knot log, no problem. Serendipity doesn’t yet.

We’ve found the speed readout on our GPS to only be accurate if you average the reading over 2 - 3 minutes (assuming the wind is pretty steady).

For more accurate speed, tie a 51 foot 1/4" nylon braid to a tennis ball and cleat the loose end off at the stern cleat. Drop the ball into the water over the side (at the stern cleat). Time how long it takes the 50 ft cord (1 foot for cleat tie off and angle compensation) to become taught.

TIME KNOTS Miles Per Hour (statute) Kilometers Per Hour
30 sec 1 knot 1.15 mph 1.84 kph
15 sec 2 knots 2.3 mph 3.68 kph
10 sec 3 knots 3.45 mph 5.52 kph
7.5 sec 4 knots 4.6 mph 7.36 kph
6 sec 5 knots 5.75 mph 9.2 kph
5 sec 6 knots 6.9 mph 11.04 kph
4.25 sec 7 knots 8.05 mph 12.88 kph
3.75 sec 8 knots 9.2 mph 14.72 kph

We have this time/speed chart inside the clear tennis ball container, and have tied a lead to the cord bitter end for a lead line. The lead, line and tennis ball all stow away in the container.

Q. Why does it hum when sailing?

A. All swing keel boats do.

Especially when beating (headed toward the wind at about 40 degrees from dead on), the turbulence generated by the keel, causes the winch cable to resonate. This may be reduced somewhat, by slackening the cable a little. I've grown fond of the hum. It works like an audible knotmeter. The faster you're going, the louder and higher pitched the hum. Just before hitting hull speed, ours reverberates between a low and high pitch. You rarely get the hum on broad reach or run.

Q. What size of outboard motor do I need?

A. This depends on your loaded boats displacement, how far you intend to motor, and the conditions that may be encountered.

Serendipity came with a 3.9 hp Volvo Penta (yes they made outboards) with a 2 blade prop. This would push her 4.3 mph in flat conditions. However with 3 foot steep waves and a 20 knot wind on the nose we stood perfectly still at full throttle.

We've since mounted a 5 hp Mariner with a 3 blade prop. This will push her to hull speed in flat conditions with about 20% throttle to spare. Originally I wanted a 6 - 8 hp. Now I question if the reserve power of the 8 hp would warrant the additional weight.

Q. What kind of maintenance is required?

A. All season long there’s a fair bit of cleaning to keep her ship shape. You’ll need a long handled brush and a bucket with a 6 foot rope tied to the handle (doubles as a bailing device to meet safety requirements).

It’s been said that the most reliable bilge pump, is a bucket in the hand of a frightened man (person now I guess) in a sinking boat.

All chuckling aside, at the start of the season you’ll have to scrub the winter scuds off, and then wax the hull and deck (you'll need special cleaner for the nonskid parts). If you leave the boat in the water, you’ll have to mask the boot stripe (water line) and paint the bottom with anti fouling paint. We use VC 17 that normally runs about C$45 per litre, but can often be picked up at a discount at boat shows. A litre will just cover the hull, keel and rudder. Don’t throw the roller or foam brush out. Let it dry and store it. Next season, the instant you dunk them in the VC 17, the old paint will instantly dissolve and the brush and roller will be like new.

We take the tiller off, whenever we leave the boat so we only have to sand and varnish it ever 2 years. The teak hand rails, companionway trim and keel winch brace can be left natural, but look a lot better if you scrub them with spic and span and bronze wool (not steel, it leaves rust stains). Rinse them off with freshwater, and after they’re dry, give them a couple coats of boiled linseed oil. They’ll just start to fade by the end of the season. Some people varnish or stain the teak, but I prefer the look of them oiled.

Other than that, empty all gas out your outboard at the end of the season and store it some place warm. Inspect the standing and running rigging every spring.

Expect good quality dacron sails to stay in good shape (not racing shape) for about 7 years of heavy use (assuming main is covered and jib is removed when not in use). If you have them professionally cleaned every three years, you could get 9 or 10 years use.

When we’re just stopped to anchor overnight, we often just slip the sail bag over the jib while it’s still hanked on and then tie it off to the bow pulpit (if there’s no storm in the forecast).

Before every use, check your trailer tires for pressure and weather checking, and grease the bearings (bearing buddies strongly recommended). Grease the bearings immediately after a haul out.

If you rent a slip for the season (and you’ll likely sail a lot more if you do), then it’ll cost ya.

We’ve spend a lot on "cruising stuff", modifications and upgrades for Serendipity, but she really didn’t need anything to be sailable when we bought her. For about $1000/yr you can add a lot of neat gadgets over a period of time, and a 20 foot season's slip from May to October in Ontario ranges between $500 - $1000, depending on location and facilities.

Q. How much should I have to pay for a used E-20?

A. The answer is pretty much the same as for any similar sized/quality boat of the same era.

Start with C$7000 for a well found E-20 with full sail inventory, trailer, and outboard in like new condition. Add premiums and subtract deductions as listed below. The resultant price should be pretty close to fair market value. Note that a boat with little "stuff" may have a low price, but may not be a good value, as you'll have to pay the "New" price for most stuff you'll add later. (Yes you will!)

For pricing in US dollars multiply the result by .55 on the coasts, or .65 in central states (sorry guys).

Add premiums for:

Reefing/furling head sail (+$1500 - $200 for each year old)
SS framed dodger (+$800 - $100 for each year old)
SS framed bimini (+$500 - $50 for each year old)
Complete (real not a tarp) cockpit enclosure (+$500 - $50/yr old)
VHF radio (+$200 - $20/yr old)
GPS (+$200 - $20/yr old)
Loran (+$75)
4 stroke outboard (+$500)
Oversized (> 6HP) outboard (+$50/HP)
Hard dinghy with oars (+$500)
Inflatable with 9.9 HP motor ($3000 - $200/dinghy yr old - $100/outboard yr old)
Dual axle trailer (+$300)
Brakes (+$500 for surge, +$300 for electric)
Propane barbeque (+$150)
Galvanized trailer (+$300)

(For slightly larger boats, a VHF, GPS, or Loran would be expected as standard not premiums)

From this total, start depreciating everything that hasn’t been kept in "like new condition". Deduct completely the cost of "new" for anything that should be replaced and to add anything that should've already been added (safety gear, nav. gear, full sail inventory) compared to similar boats her size.

General Deductions:

Hull: minor cosmetic blisters, - $200/requires epoxy bottom -$500
Hull: no blisters but significant cracks or gouges other than gelcoat craze -$500
Deck: Minor gelcoat crazes -$200, excessive gelcoat craze, or any soft spot -$500
Rudder: Missing - $300, damaged -$50
Keel: Grounding damage or excessive rust -$300
Sails: Genoa: a little dirty/baggy/repaired -$200, missing -$500
Sails: Spinnaker: a little dirty/pole missing - $200, missing - $500
Sails: Main and Jib: a little dirty/baggy/repaired -$500, real dirty/baggy -$1000
Standing Rig: Each kinked shroud or stay -$60
Running Rig: Each frayed line -$20
Outboard: missing -$600 or -$25 for every year older than 10
Undersized (< 5HP) outboard: -$50/HP
New Galvanized Trailer: +$800

Safety Deductions:

Life lines: -$200 if none (-$500 for bigger boats where standard equipment)
Stern rail: -$200 if none (-$500 for bigger boats where standard equipment)
PFD's (4 min):-$20 for each missing or in poor condition
Flares (6 min): -$5 for each missing or more than 3 years old
Oars or paddles: -$40 if missing
Fire extinguishers (2 min): -$20 for each missing
Anchor: -$100 if missing, else -$20 if no chain on rode
Main Compass: -$125 if missing
Hand Bearing Compass: -$50 if missing
Depth Sounder: -$150 if none
Knot/Log Meter: -$200 if none
Dividers and Walking Rule: -$25 if none
Binoculars: -$50 if none
First Aid Kit: -$20 if none
Floating heaving line: -$25 if none
Exterior  lights: -$20 for each broken or foggy

Gear Deductions:

-$100 if no stove (-$300 for bigger boats where standard equipment)
-$30 if no cooler/ice chest
-$150 if no porta potti
-$100 if no pots,utensils, dishes, glasses

Trailer Deductions:

No Trailer: -$1000
Rust: -$200 for exposed surface rust, -$500 for rust perforation
Flat Tires: -$50/each (total deduction if unserviceable for any reason, including spare)
Broken Lights: -$20/broken lens
Light(s) Not Functioning: -$75 (could be a bulb, could be total wiring harness replacement).
Bow Stop Missing: -$50
Winch Missing: -$50 (total deduction if unserviceable for any reason)
Broken or Flat Spring: -$25 each
Bearing Buddies: -$50 if none

Sailing4.wmf (3046 bytes) Return To Top of Page Is that 'nuff Ensenada 20 info for ya!