It could easily be a description for
a mass-market daysailer designed in
1997. 'Simple. Comfortable. Easy to
launch. Stable with positive flotation.
Good sailing performance.' Instead,
it's the consistent pitch for that prototypical
family daysailer and laid-back one-design
racer, the Flying Scot.
hotshot small boat sailor with a penchant
for planing, designer Gordon "Sandy"
Douglass was already famous in 1957
for high speed creations: the 17-foot
Thistle and 20-foot Highlander. For
his new design, he reined in his desire
for all-out performance to produce a
moderate boat that could still sail
well, but be managed easily by a couple.
This meant reducing sail area and letting
the hull form swell for stability: then
simplifying the rigging and deck layout,
installing spacious and comfortable
seats, and building it on the heavier,
more durable side, Douglass found the
rest of the formula.
the designerís direction, the
Gordon Douglass Boat Company built
the Flying Scot until Douglass retired
in 1972 and sold the company to Eric
and Mary Ammann. Harry and Karen Carpenter
then took over in 1991 as Flying Scot,
Inc. In combination with a few other
builders, more than 5,200 boats have
been built. The 2000-member Flying
Scot Sailing Association has managed
the class adroitly over the years.
Working with the builders, its officers
have stuck to the designerís
original tenets of keeping things
simple, resisting frequent rule, design
or equipment changes. The class has
also innovated successfully to keep
the low-key, family emphasis on class
combination of a committed builder,
a well-run class, and a boat with
characteristics that still ring true
in a 90s sales brochure, augur well
for this class in the next century.