Highlander History

Sandy Douglass

Shortly after World War II, Gordon K, "Sandy" Douglass was designing one design, planing sailboats suitable for family day sailing and racing in the lower Great Lakes area. After his successful Thistle Class sailboat, he felt a need to design a larger boat that was more stable when sailing open water as well as being fast and comfortable.

In June, 1950, the plans for the Highlander were published in Yachting Magazine and in the Fall of 1951, Highlander #1 was launched. The boat was everything that Douglass had hoped for; a fast, stable boat that was easy to sail with room for an entire family. By the end of that year, 12 Highlanders had been sold

The Highlander was exhibited at the New York Boat Show in 1952 and the response was overwhelming. More boats were sold and an International Class Association was established with a board of directors elected by Highlander owners.

Fleets were chartered in New England and all along the east coast, throughout the south and Texas, and in the Great Lakes region and Canada. Highlanders were represented in nearly every one design regatta in these regions. The first National Championship Regatta was held in 1953 at Mentor Harbor Yachting Club on Lake Erie.

Boat No. 1

Production of the Highlander remained steady until 1959 when a devastating fire at Douglass and McLeod, the Highlander's only builder at the time, destroyed the molds for the molded mahogany plywood boats. The first fiberglass boats began production in 1960, though new molds were built so that production of the wood hulls could resume.

Throughout the years, Highlander sailors have been among the best one design sailors in the country competing successfully in events such as US Sailing's Championship of Champions and the earlier One-Of-A-Kind Regattas. US Sailing has chosen the Highlander for events like the C of C's and Malory Cup Finals.

As with many long established one design classes, the Highlander has undergone many refinements. Wood hulls and decks are now constructed of Fiberglass. Aluminum masts and booms have replaced wood. Nylon, dacron and other synthetic woven fabrics have replaced cotton for sails.

But the Highlander Class' commitment to a quality one design boat with emphasis on long lasting boats built for racing and day sailing has remained strong. And the Highlander Class has maintained a strong commitment to its one design values.

National Champions

HCIA National Champions
Year Champion Boat Home Club Racing Venue
1953 Stanley Gridley 33 Mentor Harbor Yachting Club Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Mentor, OH
1954 Ray H. McLeod 58 Mentor Harbor Yachting Club Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Mentor, OH
1955 Benjamin Sawyer 49 Cowan Lake S. A. Northport Yacht Club, Long Island, NY
1956 Ray H. McLeod 58 Mentor Harbor Yachting Club Duxbury Yacht Club, Duxbury, MA
1957 O. C. Bailey 120 Corpus Christi Yacht Club Corpus Christi Yacht Club, Corpus Christi, TX
1958 O. C. Bailey 120 Corpus Christi Yacht Club Corpus Christi Yacht Club, Corpus Christi, TX
1959 Mark Bratton 136 Corpus Christi Yacht Club Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Mentor, OH
1960 Richard Farkas 267 Raritan Yacht Club Put in Bay Yacht Club, Put in Bay, OH
1961 Allen Bower 290 Mentor Harbor Yachting Club Duxbury Yacht Club, Duxbury, MA
1962 Eugene Wood 200 Edgewater Yacht Club Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Mentor, OH
1963 Chris Magnusson 292 Mentor Harbor Yachting Club Corpus Christi Yacht Club, Corpus Christi, TX
1964 Chris Magnusson 292 Mentor Harbor Yachting Club Edgewater Yacht Club, Cleveland, OH
1965 Eugene Wood 200 Edgewater Yacht Club Port Washington Yacht Club, Port Washington, NY
1966 William Allen 144 Corpus Christi Yacht Club Lake Geneva Yacht Club, Lake Geneva, WI
1967 Romeyn Everdell 346 Duxbury Yacht Club Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Mentor, OH
1968 John Clark 92 Duxbury Yacht Club Duxbury Yacht Club, Duxbury, MA
1969 Thomas Smith 420 Hoover Yacht Club Buffalo Yacht Club, Pt. Abino, ON
1970 Thomas Smith 420 Hoover Yacht Club Lake Norman Yacht Club, Charlotte, NC
1971 Donald Southam 233 Edgewater Yacht Club Edgewater Yacht Club, Cleveland, OH
1972 Robert Busbey 500 Edgewater Yacht Club Nyack Boat Club, Nyack, NY
1973 Robert Busbey 500 Edgewater Yacht Club Buffalo Yacht Club, Pt. Abino, ON
1974 Robert Busbey 500 Edgewater Yacht Club Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Mentor, OH
1975 Robert Busbey 500 Edgewater Yacht Club Lake Geneva Yacht Club, Lake Geneva, WI
1976 Larry Klein 237 Mt Clemens, MI Lake Norman Yacht Club, Charlotte, NC
1977 Robert Busbey 500 Edgewater Yacht Club Buffalo Yacht Club, Pt. Abino, ON
1978 Larry Klein 855 Mt. Clemens, MI Waloon Lake Yacht Club, Waloon, MI
1979 Larry Klein 855 Mt Clemens, MI Mentor Harbor Yachting Club, Mentor, OH
1980 Larry Klein 855 Mt Clemens, MI Nyack Boat Club, Nyack, NY
1981 Larry Klein 855 Mt Clemens, MI Privateer Yacht Club, Chatanooga, TN
1982 Greg Fisher 881 Hoover Yacht Club Indian Lake Yacht Club, Russells Point, OH
1983 Greg Fisher 881 Hoover Yacht Club Lakeside Sailing Association, Vermillion, OH
1984 Greg Fisher 881 Hoover Yacht Club Lake Geneva Yacht Club, Lake Geneva, WI
1985 Greg Fisher 881 Hoover Yacht Club Otsego Yacht Club, Cooperstown, NY
1986 Steve Carter 950 Hoover Yacht Club St. Mary's College, Lexington Park, MD
1987 Steve Carter 950 Hoover Yacht Club Edgewater Yacht Club, Cleveland, OH
1988 Steve Carter 950 Hoover Yacht Club Joe Wheeler Reservoir, AL
1989 Robert Spring 969 Canton, OH Bay Point Yacht Club, Sandusky, OH
1990 Whit Whitacre 902 Atwood Yacht Club Lake Norman Yacht Club, Charlotte, NC
1991 Steve Carter 950 Hoover Yacht Club Indianapolis Sailing Club, Indianapolis, IN
1992 Whit Whitacre 902 Atwood Yacht Club Erie Yacht Club, Erie, PA
1993 Steve Carter 950 Hoover Yacht Club Grand Lake St. Mary, St Mary's, OH
1994 Steve Carter 1002 Hoover Yacht Club Lake Norman Yacht Club, Charlotte, NC
1995 Steve Carter 1002 Hoover Yacht Club Indian Lake Yacht Club, Russells Point, OH
1996 Mike Perakis 906 Hoover Yacht Club Erie Yacht Club, Erie, PA
1997 Robert Spring 949 Canton, OH Sandusky Sailing Club, Sandusky, OH
1998 Robert Spring 999 Canton, OH Lake Norman Yacht Club, Charlotte, NC
1999 Jack Bauer 999 Cleveland Yachting Club Indian Lake Yacht Club, Russells Point, OH
2000 Andy McDonald 952 Indianapolis Sailing Club Berlin Yacht Club, North Benton, OH
2001 Debbie Probst 999 Fort Wayne, IN Ssandusky Sailing Club, Sandusky OH
2002 Debbie Probst 999 Fort Wayne, IN Edenton, NC
2003 Larry McDonald 949 Buffalo Canoe Club Buffalo Canoe Club, Crystal Beach, ON
2004 Ed Spengeman 1006 Louisville Sailing Club Privateer Yacht Club, Chatanooga, TN
2005 Barrett Rhoads 952 Indianapolis Sailing Club Rock Hall Yacht Club, Rock Hall, MD
2006 Ed Spengeman 1002 Louisville Sailing Club Edgewater/Whiskey Island, Cleveland, OH
2007 Bruce Busbey 500 Lake Norman Yacht Club Buffalo Canoe Club, Crystal Beach, ON
2008 John Bauer 1959 Berlin Yacht Club Lake Norman Yacht Club, Charlotte, NC
2009 Skip Dieball 2001 North Cape Yacht Club North Cape Yacht Club, Monroe, MI
2010 Ernie Dieball 1001 North Cape Yacht Club Pymatuning Yacht Club, Jamestown, PA
2011 Skip Dieball 1001 North Cape Yacht Club Rock Hall Yacht Club, Rock Hall, MD
2012 Skip Dieball 2001 North Cape Yacht Club Edgewater/Whiskey Island, Cleveland, OH
2013 Lee Sackett 2000 Edgewater Yacht Club North Cape Yacht Club, Monroe, MI
2014 Skip Dieball 999 North Cape Yacht Club Pymatuning Yacht Club, Jamestown, PA
2015 Tanner Shultz 1007 Lake Norman Yacht Club Western Carolina Sailing Club, Anderson, SC

Racing & Resources

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