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Rooster 2023 - LEADERBOARD

A Q&A with Jennifer Truscott and Diane Kampf on the 2023 Flying Scot Women's NA Championship

by David Schmidt 11 Jul 08:00 PDT July 14-16, 2023
Flying Scot North American Championship at Pensacola Yacht Club on Pensacola Bay. Day 1, the qualifying series © Talbot Wilson

1958 might be some moons ago, but go-fast designers already had a strong grasp on the fundamental design attributes that create a quick and fun boat. Case-in-point: The Flying Scot. This capable One Design 19-foot dinghy was drawn by Sandy Douglas, who had already achieved fame by designing the Thistle and the Highlander, and the new boat (established 1958) quickly showed her penchant for hopping up onto a plane when sailing off-the-breeze angles.

Not surprisingly, the Flying Scot quickly gained a strong following amongst performance-minded sailors, and now, decades later, some 6,300 boats have been built, and the class enjoys solid leadership courtesy of the Flying Scot Sailing Association (FSSA).

Flash forward to 2023, and national-level Flying Scot regattas continue to attract dozens of boats. Better still, there's long been groundswell support for all-women's racing within the class, including for all-women's championship titles.

Take, for example, the 2023 Flying Scot Women's North American Championship, which is being organized by the FSSA and the Westhampton Yacht Squadron (WYS), and which is being hosted by the WYS, in Remsenburg, New York, from July 14-16. The regatta will be contested on the waters of Moriches Bay, and is open to all women sailors who are active-, life-, junior-, club-, or family-level FSSA members.

I checked in with Jennifer Truscott, Westhampton Yacht Squadron's director and regatta chair, and Diane Kampf, FSSA's past president and current web editor, via email, to learn more about this championship-level women's One Design regatta.

The Flying Scot is a great design, but it's not new. Can you please tell us a bit about the state of the class, its current culture, and its competition levels?

The class is 66 years old and still going strong with about 900 members.

The 2023 North American Championship had a roster of 60 boats, 2022 Women's North American Championship registered 18 boats, the 2022 Wife-Husband Championship sported 20 boats, and the 2023 Midwinter Championship fleet was 40 boats, and we are modifying our Junior Championship for 2023.

We have District Series and Championships around the country and many local fleet racing programs. We have world-class sailors, including Jeff and Amy Smith Linton, participating in our class events.

How many boats are you expecting on the starting line(s) of this year's regatta?

We have had 10-25 boats for the Women's Championship, so we are hoping to continue that tradition.

It's a bit unusual for a class to hold a women's-only North American Championship regatta. Has the Flying Scot class always done this? Can you shed some light on this history?

The Women's Championship used to be a one-day event on the day before the North American Championship (NAC). With more and more women participating in the NAC, it was hard to add another whole day of competition to the week-long event, and we found that we were not seeing the participation we wanted.

A committee was formed and [they] proposed the separate, full weekend, event. The goal is to encourage more female skippers and crew in the sport of sailing.

Building on that last question, do you expect that most sailors who are competing in the Flying Scot Women's North American Championship will have also competed in the Flying Scot North American Championship (June 3-8, 2023)? Or, do the two events tend to attract different sailors?

Yes, many of the women participate in both events, which is a primary reason for the birth of the Women's North American Championship. With that said, we want to lift women up and encourage all level sailors to participate, which is why we have Championship and Challenger [fleets].

Generally speaking, what kinds of conditions can sailors expect on the waters of Moriches Bay in mid-July?

Warm water, typically a south wind off the ocean, blowing between [8-10 knots]. It is an active bay with sail and motor boats. With our vast number of volunteers, we will have command of the bay and expect many supporters and observers.

Do you see local knowledge playing a big or small role in the regatta's outcome? Can you please explain?

I'm sure there is always a hometown advantage, especially since we race every weekend. Moriches Bay changes annually with new channels and sandbars [that pose] an exciting adventure for all!

If you could offer one piece of advice to visiting (and local) sailors, what would it be?

Come early and take advantage of our volunteers who will take you to the race area and familiarize you with the water and race course. Leverage this event as a chance to enjoy each other's company after great competition on the water.

Can you please tell us about any efforts that the regatta has made to green-up the event and generally lower its environmental wake?

Biodegradable plates and silverware will be used for meals. We are also encouraging our participants to bring reusable water bottles to [reduce] the use of plastic.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

The Westhampton Yacht Squadron is honored to host the Flying Scot Women's North American Championship. This weekend is about camaraderie, [and] encouraging and celebrating women in the sport of sailing, and we are thrilled that three nationwide companies are lending their support for this event—Aetna, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Salesforce, along with two local businesses, Hulme & Kelly Attorney at Law, and Luna Mesa Day Spa.

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