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Scuttlebutt News:
Nick Scandone: Making Changes
Photos by Dan Nerney/Rolex

(January 30, 2007) Nick Scandone is a realistic man. When he began competing in the 2.4 mR Paralympic class, his condition - ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease - still allowed him to compete at a high level. The international classification system, which ranks qualifying Paralympic sailors on a 1-7 scale, viewed him a 6,
click to enlarge
Scandone at the Miami OCR in the 2.4mR
which is on the “more able” end of the spectrum. However, by the 2005 Worlds, his classification had dropped to a 3. Nick still won the Worlds, and that year was awarded the Rolex US Yachtsman of the Year. But ALS is a progressive disease, and his condition was progressing.

When he approached the 2.4 mR US Pre-Trials last fall, he knew his strength was no longer sufficient to sail the boat in all conditions. He rigged up the optional jib-boom in hopes that it would keep him on a level footing with the fleet, but since than has struggled to maintain the top boat performance needed to compete. Following the Miami OCR last week, Nick was now convinced of something he had long suspected - his hopes of being a serious threat sailing the 2.4 mR in the Olympics were no longer realistic

Nick’s classification is now a 1, and while he feels that he still could win the US trials scheduled for this fall, he is not sure how far his illness will progress before the Olympics in August 2008? Still gripping on to his Olympic dream, Nick now plans to sell his three 2.4 mR boats, and has switched his focus to the new doublehanded Paralympic boat - the
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The SKUD-18 showing some pace in Miami
SKUD-18. Because the class is new, there is a lack of available used boats to get started in. New boats are built in Singapore, so Nick figures it will take at least two months before he can begin training. Plus he needs a crew. Class rules require at least one person to be classified as a 1, and one person must be female with a minimum classification of 7.

If he can sell his 2.4 mR boats, if he can find a crew, if he can begin training in the SKUD-18, if his health doesn’t degenerate too far… Plenty of ifs, but that has been Nick’s life since being diagnosed in 2002. Nick loves to sail, and having the Olympic dream has kept him busy, active, and appreciative of what he has, and not what he hasn’t.

To contact Nick Scandone, go to his website:

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