Background on a Flying Scot family
by Dan and Christine Neff
The Neff family has been sailing and racing Flying Scot's since the mid 1970's. Robert (Bob) and Mary Ellen and their three kids Lorie, Dan, and David enjoyed many weekend trips from their home in St. Louis to Fleet 84 on Carlyle Lake in Carlyle, IL.
In 1980 sailing and work brought the Neffs to the east cost, where they spent their spare time sailing and racing their Scot on the Chesapeake Bay. By the late 80s, the kids had grown and spread
out, taking a love of sailing with them. Lorie spent time in the islands as a cook on a boat for a few years, then moved to San Francisco.
Lori received her A&P certificate from Spartan College of Aerospace and
Technology. Dan went to school at Old Dominion University in Norfolk,VA . He studied Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering and found time to participate on their sailing team. David studied Architecture at Savannah College of Art and Design While there he started a sailing club.
In 1988 Bob and Mary Ellen shifted gears, and established Selby Bay
Sailing Center. It’s located near the mouth of the South River that flows into the Chesapeake Bay, just south of Annapolis, MD. From the start they intended to build a facility just for Flying Scots. You may well have met one or more Neffs at a boat show, such as the one in Annapolis each October.
Selby Bay Sailing Center is well established exclusively for Flying
Scots. SBSC is home to Fleet 42 and two large sailing clubs, NIH Sailing Assoc. and Goddard Sailing Assoc. Currently about 50 individuals keep their boats there all year round. The main “draw” besides sailing on the beautiful Chesapeake, is racing every Wednesday night all summer long. Usually there are at least a dozen Scots out there. Bob and Mary Ellen also represent the factory and would be glad
to talk to you about new and used Flying Scots. They provide factory parts and offer individual sailing lessons in the Flying Scot.
lives in Wyoming where she works for M.K. Weeden as a heavy equipment operator
in Montana. David previously lived in Charlotte, NC. where he races FS #3109 with Fleet 48 on Lake Norman. In 2004, David took over SBSC from Mom and Dad, so that they can enjoy sailing and traveling the country. Dan lives in
Manhasset, NY. and since 1995 he also represents the Factory. His
territory covers New Jersey and surrounding areas . Dan met his wife Christine at the 1997 Flying Scot Mid-Winters. They married in 2001 and make a great team racing FS#2929. They
were members of Fleet 7 located in Greenwich Connecticut and travel to as many as 15 regattas a season up and down the east coast.
Dan And Christine are very busy keeping up with their four
children and teaching them to sail when ever there is a chance to get on the
water. Ella, Andrew, Brigid, and Fiona all enjoy sailing on the
In 2000 Dan came up with the idea for FlyingScotRacing.com. "Racing" came to mind because we enjoy
racing our Scot, and he wanted away to share information and sailing images collected over the years. You can find information about sailing and racing venues in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Maryland.
We hope you will enjoy the countless images that we have collected over the years while we travel from one club to the next.
it all started
Douglass and the History of the Flying Scot
Gordon "Sandy" K. Douglass
In 1956, after
having nearly forty years of sailboat building experience, Gordon K.
(Sandy) Douglass began to work on a new project from his home in Mentor,
Ohio. He wanted a new type of boat built out of a new material called
fiberglass. His past successes with molded plywood in his Thistle and
Highlander designs were now firmly behind him with his departure from
Douglass & McLeod, builders of these two previous designs. Sandy
wanted this new design to be a boat that a family could enjoy - roomy,
comfortable and stable.
By fall he launched
the wood prototype of this new design, the Flying Scot, for testing. The
boat performed better than he had hoped and made him certain that he
should get the boat into production. Being a man with a small ego, Sandy
named the new company the Gordon Douglass Boat Co., Inc. and after some
early production problems, he managed to complete his first boat in the
spring of 1957 and found it to be an immediate success with many more
orders. In June 1957, Eric Ammann joined the company and in short order,
became Sandy's right hand man in production and marketing the Flying Scot.
Sandy Douglas (left) sailing his beloved Scot
A combination of
events (not the least of which saw the State of Ohio condemning Sandy's
new house) led Sandy to move the Gordon Douglass Boat Co., Inc. from
Mentor, Ohio to Oakland, Maryland in August 1958. The company took up
residence at Third and Omar in an empty car dealership. From this
location, Sandy and Eric built the Flying Scot into a strong national
one-design class. They spent as much time as possible with each customer
and strived to add "the personal touch" to the business
delivering hundreds of boats coast to coast. A major accomplishment
included the adoption of the Flying Scot as the official club boat for the
Detroit River Yachting Association and the Gulf Yachting Association. This
gained valuable exposure to hundreds of members at more than fifty clubs.
In 1971, Sandy
decided to retire and sold the business to Eric Ammann. After a brief
partnership, Eric bought out all of the shares and brought his wife, Mary,
into the business. Together they continued to build on the tradition of
quality and personal contact. They also began to focus on an
ever-increasing part of the business - replacement parts.
With more than 2500
Flying Scots having been built by 1975, there was an increased demand for
replacement parts. Eric and Mary worked to build on this by setting up a
daily pick-up by UPS and allowing any Flying Scot owner to be on an open
30 day account. "The bill is in the package, send us a check when you
get it." became a common phrase in dealing with Scot owners. Eric and
Mary also worked hard to get most orders out within 24 hours. Flying Scot
owners responded to this preferred treatment and rewarded the company with
an ever increasing demand for replacement parts and almost no bad debts.
Eric and Mary also
recognized a need to focus more on individuals who did not know how to
sail as the best source for new customers. They rented a property on the
Turkey Neck section of Deep Creek Lake called Hickory Ridge in the summer
of 1975. They also employed a college student, Harry Carpenter, to manage
the rental and sailing school. Things were slow at first and Harry worked
more at the factory in Deer Park than at Hickory Ridge for the first two
years. While not showing a great profit on paper, Hickory Ridge became an
important aspect of Gordon Douglass Boat Co., Inc. It allowed individuals
who did not own property on Deep Creek Lake access through the mooring
rentals. It provided a place where Eric & Mary could send new owners
and prospective owners to learn about sailing the Flying Scot. Finally, it
brought a stream of new prospective customers through the rental
June of 1978, Eric and Mary employed Harry Carpenter on a full time basis
to assist in the operation of the business. Harry began working in the
shop rotating through most of the different production operations. He also
helped Eric and Mary with the office tasks. Harry began to campaign his
own Flying Scot at major Flying Scot regattas including the North American
Championship and the Midwinter Championship. Harry met his wife Karen at
one of these regattas in 1979 and they were married in April 1981. Karen
was a Registered Operating Room Nurse living in Chambersburg,
Pennsylvania. She became Harry's regular crew and together they have won
many Flying Scot events including the North American Championship in 1988.
Eric and Mary first
discussed retirement with Harry and Karen in 1985. Harry and Karen
expressed an interest in working toward eventual company ownership. Harry
became the company Vice-President and began to acquire stock in Gordon
Douglass Boat Co., Inc. Karen began working part time to learn as much as
possible from Mary.
The operation of
the business continued in the same tradition with everyone continuously
working to make the Flying Scot an industry leader in quality and service.
When new resins or fiberglass materials were introduced, Eric and Harry
would consider their value to the production of the Flying Scot and many
have been incorporated over the years so that the construction materials
are state of the art while the design remains unchanged.
In October, 1991,
Eric and Mary Ammann retired after more than thirty years of building the
Flying Scot. Harry and Karen Carpenter bought all of the assets of the
Gordon Douglass Boat Co., Inc. and formed a new company, Flying Scot, Inc.
While the retirement of Eric and Mary Ammann and the dissolution of Gordon
Douglass Boat Co., Inc. was a notable landmark in the history of the
Flying Scot, it was not a turning point. Harry and Karen spent too much
time with Eric and Mary to contemplate radical changes to the business
practice. The name Flying Scot, Inc. was new, but the business philosophy
and operation continued in the same tradition established over the
previous 34 years. Flying Scot, Inc. continues to strive toward building
the best boat possible and providing prompt, personal service. The new
company employed Eric and Mary on a part-time consulting basis so that
their years of experience are still a large benefit to the new company.
Dee Burns came to
the company in May of 1994. She didn't have any sailing experience, but
her previous office experience and gentle manner with customers soon made
her a valuable asset to the operation. She soon became the office manager
and is heavily involved in assisting Harry and Karen with sales and
Today the Flying
Scot is a leading one-design class in the United States. While many small
boat builders have folded their tents, Flying Scot, Inc. has continued to
grow. The ever increasing number of Flying Scots has increased the demand
for parts and as the boats age, repair and refurbishing is becoming a
larger part of the business. While remaining open to new projects and new
opportunities we have always believed firmly that "slow and steady
wins the race".
This philosophy has
certainly proven successful over nearly 50 years of continuous production.