Some may claim the “local knowledge” edge and others may point to more than a quarter century of experience, but Gary Woodruff’s top honors in last week’s Ensign Class National Championships at Niantic Bay Yacht Club in Connecticut left very little to be denied. Woodruff, 34, spent his formative years sailing Niantic Bay
The 54th running of the Ensigns is distinguished in a number of ways. Not only is the Ensign a signature sailboat from the brilliant mind of Carl Alberg, but also the Ensign Class the largest class of full-keeled, one-design sailboats in the U.S. What’s more, Woodruff’s newly crowned champion boat, Tailgunner, is Ensign hull no. 496, a vintage 1964 classic. Talk about still having it!
Ensigns, 1,775 of them, were built by Pearson Yachts in Newport, R.I. from 1962 through 1983. Since 2000, Ensign Spars in Marquette, Mich. has added new hulls to the national fleet.
Woodruff lead the field going into the last race and parleyed a late race wind shift into a nifty slide from second to first place, making the overall championship a fait accomplí with 18.5 points.
Second place honors went to Michigan’s Mike Derusha aboard Menekaune with 26 points and third place to Huntington, New York’s Peter Heffernan on Never-Enz with 30 points.