History of the Flying Scot
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 operation.
In 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
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
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 customer
The age of the computer led Flying Scot, Inc. to
a web page that was first developed by Flying Scot sailor, Hank Sykes.
Later updates have developed the site to
where it is our primary source of new customers complete with a parts
price list as well as new boat information.
Harry was pleased to start the new millenium by
wining his second North American Championship in 2000.
This was extra special because he was
sailing with his son, Jimmy.
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.