PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Mount Desert Island sailors Ned Johnston and Ryan Donahue returned to the Midwinter Championships for the Flying Scot class last week and defended their third-place title.
Last year’s regatta was their first time sailing this class of boat, which Johnston said is similar to the Luders 16 class raced here in the Great Harbor of MDI, except with an adjustable centerboard.
“We had between 10 and 18 knots of wind for all seven races, and Ryan and I were pretty happy to end up in the top three of a very talented fleet,” Johnston said.
Of 24 boats in the championship division, the pair finished second in one race and fourth, sixth or seventh in each of the others. Johnston sailed as skipper.
“With no ‘throw out’ in the series, our plan was to be very conservative and try to avoid any big mistakes,” he said.
One of those seventh-place finishes was impressive given that they had to go back to the starting line when the race committee thought they had been over the line at the gun.
“Of course we went back, even though we were sure that they had mistakenly called our number instead of the boat just ahead of us on the line,” Johnston said. “Restarting almost two minutes after the rest of the fleet put us in a deep hole, but with good boat speed and a bit of luck, we managed to work our way back to seventh in the race.”
The setback didn’t sour them on the event. Johnston shrugged it off, saying, “Shucks! That’s boat racing!”