SARASOTA, Fla. — Mount Desert Island sailors Ned Johnston and Ryan Donahue had never sailed a Flying Scot before. But that didn’t stop them from taking third place in the Midwinter Championships for the boat class last week.
“Like the Luders 16 class that we race up here, the Flying Scot is an older design with a small jib, a large mainsail and a big spinnaker,” Johnston said. “But the Flying Scot has an adjustable centerboard instead of a keel. So one of the challenges Ryan and I faced in transitioning from the Luders was remembering this difference. In the first couple of races, we kept forgetting to pull the centerboard up after rounding the windward mark, and then again forgetting to put it back down when we turned the leeward mark to head back upwind.”
The Flying Scot is a 19-foot daysailer designed by racer Gordon K. “Sandy” Douglass. They are produced in western Maryland in the town of Deer Park. More than 100 active fleets of Flying Scots are scattered around the U.S.
“The Scot class attracts top sailing talent,” Johnston said, “because the boats are so evenly matched in speed. Three of our competitors at the Midwinter’s were top-notch, professional sailors with multiple national and world titles to their names.” Despite their impressive sailing resumes, “everyone at the regatta was very welcoming and helpful to the ‘newbies’ from Maine,” he said.
A total of 54 boats completed eight races over three days, plus a warm-up regatta the day before the series began. The event was hosted by the Sarasota Flying Scot Sailing Squadron. Competitors came from Wisconsin, Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, as well as Florida. They enjoyed warm weather in the 80-degree range and winds of 10-15 miles per hour for the event.