US Disabled Sailing Team AlphaGraphics: 2005-2008
Member of: Balboa YC
Education: Fountain Valley High School, University of California, Irvine (graduated 1990)
Birthdate: March 4, 1966
Birthplace: Santa Ana, Calif.
Hometown: Newport Beach, Calif.
Significant sailing achievements: Ranked No. 1 on the US Disabled Sailing Team in the 2.4mR class (2005-2008), US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year (2005), InterCollegiate Sailing Association All-American (1988)
Biography: SKUD-18 skipper Nick Scandone and crew Maureen McKinnon-Tucker look unstoppable in this new Paralympic class. At the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials in 2007, their string of strong finishes allowed them to mathematically sew up a regatta win before the final race. Their victory at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR in January was a repeat performance.
"I was fortunate to team up with Maureen," says Scandone. "With her physical ability and my mental ability, we think we can go all the way."
A sailor since the age of 8, Scandone sailed Sabots as a youth in his native Orange Country, Calif. At the University of California, Irvine. Scandone was named an intercollegiate All-American in 1988. After graduation and a win at the 1991 470 North Americans, the Olympics were on his horizon, but when he wasn't victorious at the winner-take-all Trials for the '92 Games, he came to a realization: "It was time for a real job."
In 2002, he was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. "After I was diagnosed, I continued to work because you think the diagnosis may be wrong." But when his condition progressed, he knew his life and his sailing would change.
By 2004, Scandone was competing in the singlehanded 2.4mR class. In 2005, he won the 2.4mR World Championship in an 88-boat fleet of disabled and able-bodied sailors and was crowned US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. As his condition progressed, he shifted to the doublehanded SKUD.
As he surveys his path in sailing, there are highpoints: his collegiate wins and the 2.4mR Worlds. Says Scandone: "I hope I can add winning the Games in China to that list."
2008 1st US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR/Miami
2007 2nd IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship/Rochester, N.Y., 3rd C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Regatta/Newport, R.I.