The Flying Scot is a handsome 19-foot fiberglass sailing dinghy that can comfortably seat four to eight people for a few hours of sailing fun on lakes, rivers, and in protected bays. The Flying Scot offers comfort, stability, and safety which makes it great boat for beginning sailors and boat rental facilities. However, with 191-square feet of sail area with the mainsail and jib, the ability to fly a spinnaker, and the ability to get up on plane in 15 knots of wind, the Flying Scot is no slouch when it comes to performance. The Flying Scot can also be equipped with reef points and a jiffy reefing kit to enable skippers to reduce sail on windy days. The versatile daysailer also has a retractable, weighted, centerboard and a kick-up rudder to handle unexpected shoals and poke into shallow water.
The Flying Scot is by far a more comfortable boat than other one-design dinghies that I have sailed aboard. Boats like the Lightning, Albacore, and Thistle are less stable and less comfortable. Instead of narrow gunwales, the Flying Scot has molded fiberglass bench seats and wide gunwales that comfortably accomodate passengers and crew of all ages and abilities. The Flying Scot is sailed with everyone aboard the boat. No one has to hike out using a harness. Even the substantial wooden tiller is comfortable in the skipper’s hand.
As a big guy, I enjoyed my Flying Scot because it was large enough for me to maneuver around on without becoming unstable. I could even walk on top of the fiberglass covered, balsa-cored, foredeck to hank on the jib, anchor, or tie up to a dock. In addition to the balsa-cored foredeck, for emergency floatation, the Flying Scot has a large airbag up near the bow and large styrofoam blocks strapped beneath the seats. The boat is unsinkable and has “600 pounds of reserve floatation.” The bench seats have drains that lead via hoses to scuppers at the stern. In the rare event of a knock-down or capsize, a skipper can right the boat by standing on the centerboard and pulling on the gunwales. However, in six years of active Flying Scot sailing, I was never knocked down or capsized. With a heavy retractable centerboard, a broad six-foot nine-inch beam, and a skipper who pays attention to the mainsheet, there is no reason to get knocked over.
Cruisers will appreciate that the boat offers enough room for friends and a cooler. The Flying Scot also has three small, glove compartment-sized, storage compartments. Two are slung beneath the foredeck and one is aft below the short rear deck. The open compartments are convenient for holding extra halyard handles, a spare plug, a flag, some flares, a whistle, a flashlight, a few tools, boat registration, and other small items. Sail bags, coolers, and life jackets are generally shoved under the foredeck and rear deck. Some enterprising Scot owners will rig gear hammocks beneath the decks or beach seats. The mast is supported by a wooden pedestal beneath the deck. The pedestal has a very small shelf for the halyard handle that is used to raise and lower the sails. Racers will appreciate that over 5800 boats have been made in this same classic, one-design, hall of fame design over several decades. There are many active Flying Scot fleets around the country.
After sailing my Scot every couple of days for about six years, we moved to landlocked areas where access to suitable sailing facilities and marinas was limited. While the 1200-pound boat and trailer towing weight was easily manageable behind a typical passenger car or SUV, I had been spoiled by easy access to an urban marina. I also didn’t enjoy trying to step the nearly 27-foot mast on my own or only with the help of my spouse.
Ultimately, my Flying Scot fell into disuse and disrepair so I donated it to charity where it was sold to a new owner who cleaned it up, took it to a coastal area, and got it back into regular use again. I’m glad that it is bringing enjoyment to sailors again. If you are looking for a fun, fast, and safe dinghy for racing and recreational daysailing, the Flying Scot is a great choice!
Flying Scot sailboats: www.flyingscot.com