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An A-Scow sailing on Lake Minnetonka
Class Symbol
Current Specifications
Crew 5-8
Type Monohull
LOA 11.58 m (38 ft 0 in)
Beam 2.44 m (8 ft 0 in)
Hull weight 839 kg (1,850 lb)
Mainsail area 32.5 m2 (350 sq ft)
Jib / Genoa area 13.94 m2 (150.0 sq ft)
Spinnaker area 111.5 m2 (1,200 sq ft)

In sailing, the A-Scow is a large sailing scow. It is 38 feet long and with reported top speeds of over 25 knots.[citation needed] With its rules of design, also known as scantlings, first being written in 1901, the A-Scow has a significant history. With a large sail area and little keel ballast, the five to seven crew members must work in unison on the A-Scow to keep the boat sailing fast and upright. The boat is mainly sailed in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

New designs and division of fleet

With the scantlings being much like they were over 100 years earlier, the boat could be built with any shape and rigging as long as it fit within the rules. For many years, Melges Performance Sailboats was the only builder of the A-scow, and so the existing boats all were from the same design. However, the rules left the door open for another builder and in 2002, VictorybyDesign began building A-Scows. Having an optimized boat shape and new rigging, the boat was significantly faster than the older design. There quickly developed a rift between Brad Robinson, the owner of VictoryByDesign, and the majority of the class. After three years of battle on the water, internet and court, the sailors decided to split the fleet. A one-design fleet would exist for the older boats, and a developmental design would exist for the new boat.

Fleet growth

Six new Melges boats will be built in 2006 in Wisconsin. In addition to the new one-design hulls, there will also be at least one new Victory design being built in Minnesota.

Documentary film

In August 2006, a feature length documentary film about the history of the A Scow entitled The Ultimate Ride was released. It was narrated by ESPN commentator and world-class sailor Gary Jobson, and features A-scows sailing at their best.

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