2021 Ensign Nationals Boat Race Event Opens at Marquette Lower Harbor

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – Sailboat masts were raised Sunday in Lower Harbor for the opening ceremonies of the 2021 Ensign National Championship Regatta.

The boat racing event is organized by Ensign Fleet 35 in partnership with Marquette Yacht Club.

This is the second year the city has hosted the tournament, with the last event taking place in 2012.

It was originally scheduled for Marquette for last year but was delayed due to the pandemic.

About 30 Ensign boats will participate in the races – which will take place beyond Harbor Basin and in the waters of Lake Superior.

“The Ensign sailboat is a 22-1/2 foot day sailor. It has a very large cockpit with plenty of room to take people sailing. It’s supposed to be some sort of recreational sailboat, but it also happens to have raced around the country. And there are a lot of them here. In fact, Marquette has one of the largest fleets in the country. It’s a really good all-around boat, and there was a time when they were built here in Marquette,” said Chad Lewis, Vice Commodore of the Marquette Yacht Club.

Competitors come from all over the country, from the East Coast to Texas (with five boats confirmed).

“It’s very exciting, especially when the wind is blowing. And we have great competition here at Marquette. We have excellent sailors. It keeps us on our toes,” said Marquette Yacht Club Commodore Michael Twohey.

“I think looking along the breaking wall will be good. I also think the viewer is good anywhere in Founder’s Landing or South Marquette. I would say if you want to attend a motorboat, that’s great. But if you stay away from the racers, it’s relatively clear where the people are, you can see really competitive sailboat racing,” Lewis explained.

Racing officially begins Monday at 11 a.m. – boats will begin leaving the Lower Harbor wharf after 10 a.m.

For complete information on the 2021 Ensign National Championships, click HERE.

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