Other than the fact that he has a progressive neurodegenerative disease called ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which has begun the slow, irreversible process of ravaging his body, in figurative terms Scandone stands apart from his yacht-club peers in several aspects. For instance, he's a much better sailor than almost all of them.
Scandone was diagnosed with ALS in 2002, and since then, he has risen steadily up the disabled sailing ranks, winning the 2.4 Meter Open World Championship in 2005 and, not coincidentally, earning the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award the same year. And he didn't stop there, for with his sailing partner, Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, Scandone will represent the United States at the Paralympic Games in China this September. When I met him on a sunny spring morning last April, he was getting ready for a day of training aboard his SKUD 18, the class in which he'll compete at the Paralympics.