Maybe you’ve seen one meandering along the lake’s shore–beautiful sails floating away on a warm summer day. Or maybe you’ve been on the southern end of the lake on a weekend in July and August and have seen them plowing through the water…racing to be first at the finish line. Most likely the sailboat you have seen is a Flying Scot, a Garrett County original.
Flying Scot sailboats have been manufactured right here in Garrett County since 1957 and are sailed all over the world. “What makes the Flying Scot unique is its ability to do a variety of things very well. Sailors used to have to choose between comfort for day sailing or speed for performance…this sailboat does both,” explains Carrie Andrews, who along with her husband Tyler are the new owners of this venerable institution, purchased from former owners (and Carrie’s parents) Harry and Karen Carpenter.
The very first Flying Scot was crafted and sailed by Gordon “Sandy” Douglass in 1957. In the 60+ years since, over 6200 Flying Scots have been built locally and sold all over the world…including Saudi Arabia, China, Europe, Central and South America…even Australia. They are one of the few sailboats remaining that are handcrafted from raw materials in the United States.
“Sandy was ahead of his time,” says Carrie. His vision was transcendent and his design timeless. The boats are so well crafted they have retained popularity and value as boats are handed down through the generations.” The boats are designed so that the mast can be lifted by one person. It is lightweight enough for one person to sail by themselves but roomy enough to seat several people. Each boat comes with a custom trailer that makes it easy to roll the sailboat into the water…again perfect for the solo sailor.
Douglass owned the company until 1971, when he sold to his second-in-command Eric Ammann. In 1978, a young college student named Harry Carpenter started working summers at Flying Scot. Having used one for racing since he was a child, Carpenter loved the business…so much so that in 1991, he and his wife Karen purchased and operated it until their retirement last year.
Flying Scot Sailboats are still handmade in Deer Park, with a quality control process that withstands the test of time. Each boat is still made from Sandy’s original design and rigged to the preference of its individual owner. In fact, Tyler hand delivers each boat and oversees the rigging of it with the client and even takes them sailing in it afterward to help the owner feel completely comfortable. They come with a cover customized for how and where you will be storing it. Motors and throttles can be added as well.
The Flying Scot is very well-known nationally and internationally and was inducted into the Sail America American Sailboat Hall of Fame in 1998 for its successful design and the impact it has made on sailing. Because of its easier maneuverability, it is frequently used to train new sailors but its solid design and engineering is what has kept it a favorite among veteran sailors.
In addition to new boats, Flying Scot also refurbishes and repairs existing boats and sells and installs rigging systems. “People just getting into sailing can save a lot of money purchasing and refinishing an older Flying Scot sailboat,” explains Carrie. They sell hardware, fasteners, accessories and much more.
Of course, Carrie grew up sailing as did her father before her, and she and her husband are delighted to continue the tradition. It’s a labor of love in many ways…Carrie and Tyler met while racing as did Harry and Karen decades before. In fact, Harry has a new apprentice…Carrie and Tyler’s three year old son is the newest member of “Poppi’s Training Camp”.
Because of the local popularity of the Flying Scot (you’ll find over 200 of them at Deep Creek Lake), racing has become a popular past-time for their owners. The Flying Scot Sailing Association (a national group) holds races each Saturday and Sunday Memorial Day through Labor Day. The annual “Sandy” Douglass Regatta is generally held the end of each July drawing racers from near and far (although plans for 2020 are tentative). Next year the Women’s NAC Championship will be held at Deep Creek Lake and plans are already in the works for the 2022 national Husband and Wife competition.
New to sailing? Flying Scot offers several clinics for both kids and adults and their website has many videos and more information about the sport. As Sandy Douglass himself said, Flying Scots are “ideal to learn in…and grow into.” For more information, visit them online at www.flyingscot.com.