The Ensign Hall of Fame serves to recognize and perpetuate in its archives a one of a kind contribution or an exceptionally noteworthy piece of Ensign Class folklore. Each inductee will be announced at the Annual Winter Meeting and inducted into the ECA Hall of Fame. A brief write up will be included in the Yearbook and History Page of the ECA Website supporting each induction. There are four categories of selection:
Hall of Fame candidates will be submitted by individual members or by local fleets. A written description of each candidate (for purpose of consideration) will be submitted in a timely manner for review to the Hall of Fame Selection Committee as appointed by the ECA Commodore.
An ECA member can recommend any ECA member, Ensign, Fleet or ECA Event with a written explanation of why the candidate should be inducted. Selection will be based on, but not limited to, the legitimacy and presentation of the noteworthy candidate. Candidates’ recommendations can be retroactive as far back as 1960 to the present. The level of importance to the ECA, the rarity of the candidate, and how the recommendation is presented shall constitute the validity of the potential inductee. Candidates submitted by a Fleet will have preferred status for induction into the Hall of Fame over an individually submitted candidate. The Selection Committee will review and submit their recommendations to the ECA Governing Board for approval. Up to 5 inductees can be inducted annually.
2008 Hall of Fame Inductees
The Swedish-born naval architect who designed the Ensign for Pearson Yachts in the early 1960ʼs. He sought to modify his earlier Pearson Electra cruiser to make it a daysailer. “We determined that a large cockpit would be essential for both racing and daysailing,” he wrote, “as would a small cuddy for locking up sails and gear.” Some 10,000 boats have been built to the 56 designs credited to Alberg.
In the early 1960ʼs, he sponsored the design of the Ensign, originally calling it the Electra Day Sailer. His Rhode Island based firm, Pearson Yachts, was the only builder of the boat from 1962 through 1983, constructing 1,775 ensigns before ceasing production and making it the largest class, by far, of full-keeled, one-design sailboats in the United States. (Production was resumed in 2001 by Ensign Spars Inc. of Dunedin, Florida.)
John M. O’Connell
He was one of the half dozen people who, in 1962 at Rye, New York, chose the name “Ensign”, founded the Ensign Class Association, drafted class rules and established Fleet 1 in nearby Larchmont. He became that year the first Ensign National Champion. In 1973, he founded Ensign Fleet 64 in on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, and in 1990 he was the prime mover and leader in that fleetʼs hosting of the 29th annual Ensign National Championship Regatta.
Dean has been Class Commodore, National Champion a record four times, and has been active in class affairs for the better part of four decades. He has served as Committee Chairman and has been involved in all major changes in class sails designs, standards, and rules. Dean was active in the work to begin construction of new Ensigns.
“Mr. Ensign” himself, Charlie has been Class Commodore, has skippered SEA III for more than 40 years, and has sailed in over 30 National championships. Charlie has been the winner of numerous Regional Championships, placed third in a National Championship, and was the first recipient of the Sea III Trophy – named in his honor, and awarded for outstanding service to the Ensign Class. He was very active in Class leadership, participated in all major decisions and changes in class rules and has served on the committee for the building of new Ensigns. At age 80, Charlie raced in a Regional Championship Regatta with four generations of Slighs on SEA III.
In 1966, she was the first woman to skipper in an Ensign Nationals.
Jim led the fight with the Internal Revenue Service to obtain our 501-(C)(3) status, which allows donations to the class on a tax-free basis. He and Dick Torpey carried the load for the project, which gave the Class the money to move and repair the Ensign molds and begin building new boats. Jim was one of the leaders of the new boat project, and also served as a sparkplug in the growth of Fleet #7 to become one of the largest and most active fleets in the Class.
First back to back National Champion 1975 -1976 of Houston Yacht Club Fleet 2. Clark was the first to take 4 first places in a National Championship Regatta. He later went onto win the Champion of Champions Regatta.
First Person to make a trifecta in Ensign Awards. Won the 2002 Nationals, 1989 the first Most Beautiful Ensign Award and was the recipient of the Sligh III Award. Dick was Commodore of the ECA from 1991-1992, served on the Governing Board for two terms and provided expert advice on the establishment of our 501-(C)(3) classification. Through the years Dick has been the ECA's official and unofficial legal department.
Builder of the New Ensign Classics. Zeke has made many contributions to the ECA but most well-known is starting Ensign Spars Inc and the rebirth of the Ensign Daysailer. Other accomplishments are 12 years on the Governing Board and Commodore 1997-1998. He was dubbed the idea man and credited for bringing the Class from the 60's to the 90's. He started the Most Beautiful Ensign Award, founded Feet 69 of Dunedin (main host of the Mid-Winter Championship), the Sailpatch program, the Boat Brokerage, promoted the first ECA web site and played an important role in securing the Pearson molds. One other fact Zeke is very proud of is he has personally owned and sold over 53 Ensign sailboats.
Sea III #3
The oldest Ensign still actively racing. Owned by Charlie Sligh III, of Holland, Michigan. Sea III has sailed in more National Championship Regattas than any other Ensign.
Irish Mist #710
First boat to win “The Most Beautiful Ensign” Award, and still one of the most beautiful boats in the Ensign Class. Owned by Dick Torpey this lovely boat has won the National Championship Regatta twice.
Lady L #2000
Owned by Ken Horsburgh, it is the first of the new Ensign Classics.
Most distant Ensign. Owned by Takehiko Tsutsumi, home port Kamacura, Japan. Ensign that survived the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan.
Owned by Phil Robinson of Lake Dillon, Colorado. In 1994, while skippered by Ralph Stevenson at the leeward mark the main failed to release and the boat swamped and sank with full sails never to be seen again.
The first fleet of the newly founded Ensign Class Association. Larchmont, New York
The highest elevation Ensign Fleet at 9,200 feet. Dillon, Colorado
Hosted the largest National Championship Regatta ever in August, 2000. Canandaigua, New York
1979 Nationals Holland, Michigan
These Nationals were sailed in the most adverse weather conditions of any Nationals or any Ensign race. The Fastnet Storm of ‘79 that created the worst sailing tragedy, originated in the Mid West U.S. This created wind speeds of 35 kts and gusts up to 48 kts. The seas were measured from 12 ft. to 15 ft. with an occasional 20 footer. Water temperature was in the 40's with bottom water of Lake Michigan being churned up to the surface. Four boats were swamped, four masts were lost by shear wind strength, gear damage was prevalent, but there were no fatalities. Races were sailed with most boats using full sails. David McClintock won the series with 5 bullets and sat out the last race as a throw out in light air.
2009 Hall of Fame Inductees
William (Bill) Faget
Winner of three straight National Championships, after suffering a stroke, he won his fourth National Championship with the help of his son, Benz. Bill skippered the first three races, and when his strength gave out, he turned the tiller over to Benz to finish the regatta. Bill was noted for being generous with his knowledge about preparing an Ensign to sail FAST. He always was willing to share information with new sailors and did so with a dry wit and rare sense of humor. For many years he held Fleet 18 together and actively supported and participated in the Southwest Region.
The first to purchase a New Ensign Classic 2000. Ken had many firsts and many contributions to his local Fleet 31 of Cedarville, Michigan, God's Country as Ken would say. He organized the founding and building of Fleet 31 which is the largest Ensign Fleet by far with over 73 boats. He was truly the ultimate shaker and mover and Ensign enthusiast. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for the Ensign. He would commonly own 3 Ensigns at any one time.
This Ensign is a much decorated yacht with three National Championship titles in succession. Warlock was owned by William Faget and now is owned by his son Benz. It has won countless local and regional events and was always recognizable with its victory flag flown at night to keep evil away.
2010 Hall of Fame Inductees
Charlie has an outstanding record of participation and performance in Ensign Nationals. Since 1972, he has raced in 33 Nationals in 16 locations, and has won the regatta three times, placed 2nd five times, 3rd four times, 4th once and 5th three times. He still races in his home fleet in Newport, Rhode Island and has participated very successfully in many Region II Regattas. He has been Treasurer and Commodore of the ECA, has attended many Annual Meetings, and was on the committee that developed the upper shroud above the spreader to deal with the "noodle mast" problem. Although both Dean Snider (24 Nationals), and Charlie Sligh III (26 Nationals) are almost in Charlie's class, they are both already in the HOF.
Elizabeth Brincklow is the first woman Commodore of the Ensign Class Association and is the first second-half of a couple to achieve the office of Commodore. She served as Commodore in 2005-2006, and also served as Secretary and Vice Commodore of Regional Affairs. Elizabeth proposed and implemented the ECA Youth Sponsorship Program, strengthening the 501-(C)(3) status of the Class, and oversaw the implementation of minimum boat weights and the inclusion of the roller-furling sail. Since joining the ECA in 1983, she has attended numerous annual meetings, and has raced foredeck with husband Zeke Durica in a plethora of ECA regional and national events, crewing on the winning boat in the 2010 Nationals. Elizabeth races in her home fleet in Dunedin, Fl, where she annually assists in the Midwinter Regatta organization. She was the muse for beginning Ensign Spars, Inc.
2011 Hall of Fame Inductees
Benz Faget - Most Nationals won either Crewed or Skippered.
Benz has crewed on the winning boat or skippered the winning boat twelve times. He has sailed Ensigns all his life after he was taught how to sail on the family Ensign #308 Warlock. Benz has been associated with many tales and stories revolving around the Ensign through the years.
Bill O’hara - Father of the Sustained Giving Program for “Ensigns Forever”
Bill began the program for annual donations through the Class tax-free status as a 501-(C)(3) organization. His goal was that the funds from this program be used to promote the class and provide assistance to the building of new Ensigns. He worked with Zeke Durica, Jim Kelly, and Dick Torpey to bring about the building of new Ensigns by Ensign Spars, Inc. He served as Commodore in 1999-2000, and Vice Commodore of Publicity, prior to that. His mandate was that all class officers consider their office as a “working position” rather than just an “honorary” one. With this in mind, he worked with many others to revitalize national membership, and as a member of Fleet 23, achieved the largest National Championship Regatta in Class history.
Money Penny #2007
The first Ensign Classic to win Nationals.
2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
Linda Petrat - The longest known distance traveled in an Ensign.
Sailed from Kittery, Maine to Sarasota, Florida, unofficially over 1600 miles. Departed Oct. 1, 2011 and reached Sarasota on Jan. 18, 2012 in #544 SUMMER WIND.
Fleet 63 - Hosting the most National Championship Regattas.
Hosted in 1983, 1987, 1995, 2002, 2007, and 2013. It also has contributed two National Commodores and two National Champions.
2017 Hall of Fame Inductee
Ed Bluestein - Most important ecological contributions by an Ensign sailor.
Ed was an active force in keeping the upper Galveston Bay a good place to race and sail. When an oil company was making plans to drill oil wells in this racing area, he brought together the Corps of Engineers the oil company and the environmental groups to allow “slant” drilling from Atkinson Island. Fleet 2 owes its current wonderful cruising and racing area to Ed. He was also very active in defeating the Port’s recent “mud island” plan for disposal of “dredge material.”
Sailing “Adjourn” he won many local and regional regattas. Most remembered was the 2002 Region IV Championships in which he not only won all the races with a clean sweep, but also lead at all the marks.
2019 Hall of Fame Inductee
Vince Morvillo - First and only blind sailor to ever win the ECA National Championship.
In 2004 Vince won his ﬁrst Ensign National Championship in Newport, RI with 41 boats attending and 8 total races. Vince’s overall score was 15 points with 2nd place at 25 points and 3rd place at 37 points. Vince has a long list of accomplishments including winning the 1999 and 2000 ECA Region IV Regionals. In 2001 he won the Gold at the World Blind Sailing Championship to go with the bronze and silver medals he won in prior world Blind Sailing events. Vince’s motto is “What you believe is what you achieve.” He notes that with blindness you have to see with vision, not with sight.