Two Long Island Sound yacht clubs will have the honor this summer of hosting the premier event of the Flying Scot class — the North American Championships. While the event will take place at Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT from July 9 – 15, both Cedar Point and neighboring Sprite Island Yacht Club in Norwalk will be hosting it.
The Flying Scot class recently celebrated its 50-year anniversary. A 19-foot dinghy designed by Sandy Douglass, the Flying Scot was conceived as a family-friendly daysailer that could also be raced. While the class sticks to a strict one-design philosophy, small changes have been made over the years to make the boat more suited to racing. However, it is the original design of the boat that makes it so much fun. In spite of being relatively large for a sailing dinghy, the wide beam and spacious cockpit mean that the boat can be sailed comfortably with a crew of just two people. In addition, this is a boat that doesn’t require a high degree of athleticism from its crew in order to be competitive. A healthy class association promotes racing around the United States with the majority of fleets found along the Eastern Seaboard and on the Gulf Coast.
The two Connecticut fleets have a lot to live up to in hosting the Nationals. The 50th Anniversary event, hosted by Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Virginia in 2007, drew 101 boats. Concerns about pollution from the BP spill in the Gulf this past summer led to a smaller turnout at the 2010 Nationals, so it is anticipated that pentup demand will result in a large turnout for the 2011 event.
Both Cedar Point Yacht Club and Sprite Island Yacht Club have active Flying Scot fleets. The Cedar Point fleet is the smaller and younger of the two. The fleet races from the club situated at the mouth of the Saugatuck River every Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Sprite Island fleet races every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer. For this year’s Nationals, most of the events will be held at Cedar Point Yacht Club, which is nationally recognized for its excellence in race management. However, participants at the event will have an opportunity to see the wonderful home of the Sprite Island fleet, as a clambake is planned on the island following Tuesday’s racing.
In accordance to the class rules, the North American Championships is a 6-day event. The first day of the event comprises the Women’s and Juniors’ Championships. The main event starts the next day with two days of round robin racing, after which the fleet is split into two divisions for the remainder of the regatta, each racing five races over three days. While the quality of racing is very high, with the event often drawing several nationally-ranked skippers from other classes, there are opportunities for great competition at the lower levels.
A number of events are planned to help all participants become more competitive. Prior to the regatta, the team from North Sails One Design will be presenting a Tuning, Rigging and Sailing Seminar. The seminar will explain the theory and practice of setting up a Flying Scot to achieve maximum performance. The North Sails team will be available to answer questions and provide advice on getting the most from your Flying Scot. In addition, on-water events are planned, with the North Sails team videotaping competitors to help them improve their tuning and boat handling techniques. Following each day of racing, a “Hot Scots” event is planned. Winning skippers and crews from the day will provide a debriefing to all participants to share how they approached the day’s racing and how they were able to be successful. It is hoped that there will be lots of interaction at these sessions so that all competitors can learn from the leaders.