What keeps them coming back

Published on June 12th, 2018

American Sandy Douglass was a racer, designer, and builder of sailing dinghies from which came the well-known Thistle, Flying Scot, and Highlander. These classes have their pockets of popularity throughout the USA, with the 20-foot Highlander offering a fast, stable boat that’s easy to sail with room for an entire family.

Reigning national champion Bruce Busbey from Greenville, SC has 50 years in the class, and in this report for Quantum Sails, shares some of what keeps him coming back.

Why did you choose this class?

Bruce Busbey poses with his crew, his wife Debbie Busbey and long-time friend Connie Sheets.

I think the class chose me, I grew up racing Highlanders with my father and others, then took some time out to race Thistles and Flying Scots but came back to the comfort and speed of the Highlander.

What is currently your biggest challenge/goal?

My biggest challenge is keeping my edge. As I have gotten older, the stress associated with trying to win all the time has taken some of the fun out of sailing. My goal is to keep my edge but try to do it in a lower stress fashion–not get so wound up before the races and just try to have a little fun.

What are you most proud of about your team/program?

We enjoy sailing and racing together and have a very good team dynamic. Everything on the boat gets done with minimal talking and chatter, allows us to concentrate on the task at hand.

How do you keep your team involved?

I married one of my crew so that helped to keep her involved! Connie, my other crew, just loves to sample various wines with my wife. It’s a win-win for me.

Any advice to a new team or for others trying to succeed?

Make sailing/racing a way to enhance your family or friendship. Make it something you all enjoy doing together as a team. Even if you don’t have the best finishes you can always enjoy each other’s company. And once you have that, practicing in order to get better might just be a natural evolution!

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