Lightning Fleet 77

Lightning Fleet Captain

The Lightning is a 19-foot trailerable centerboard sloop originally designed by Sparkman & Stephens in 1938 as an affordable family day-sailor and racing boat. With over 15,000 boats built, the Lightning has evolved into one of the most popular and competitive one-design racing classes in the world. The 1990 North American Championships held in Rochester, NY attracted 120 boats. The 50th Anniversary Regatta was held in Skaneateles, NY and attracted over 225 boats. Awarded ISAF International Class status, the Lightning is sailed in more than 13 countries and the Pan American Games. The Lighting Class provides a professionally managed association that is among the largest in all of one-design sailing. The Central NY Lightning District and Newport Yacht Club have several world-class Lightning sailors and keen competition making NYC a great place for seasoned sailors to sharpen their skills, as well as beginning sailors to learn new racing skills.

The Lightning's rig is simple, but offers sophisticated sail shape controls. The hull features a unique hard chine design that combines the stability that provides sail-carrying power, with flat bottom sections that promote planing. The Lightning has a mainsail, jib and spinnaker and is raced by a crew of three.

The price of boats fully equipped range used to new $4,000-$28,000.

Design: Sparkman & Stephens, 1938
Over 15500 built
More than 500 fleets worldwide
Length: 19'0" (5.8m)
Beam: 6'6" (2m)
Displacement: 700 lb (318 kg)
Draft (board down): 4'11" (151.3cm)
(board up): 5" (12.8cm)
Mast height: 26'2" (7.9m)
Sail area (main & jib): 177 sq.ft.
(spinnaker): 300 sq.ft.
Crew (racing): 3

Lightning Video


Top 10 Reasons for sailing a Lightning:

David Dellenbaugh, former Lightning World Champion and starting helmsman for 1992 America's Cup defender America3:
The Top 10 Things I Like About The Lightning:
1. There's Lightning racing almost everywhere.
2. Some of the best sailors in the world sail the Lightning.
3. Lightnings are available from more than one high-quality builder.
4. Lightnings even 20 years old are still competitive.
5. The boat is one of the best crew trainers on the water today.
6. The class is not so strict as to discourage experimentation which makes the boat faster and easier to sail.
7. The Lightning has interested the finest sailmakers in the world so the sails and the tuning guides look great and are easy to use.
8. The Lightning is a very roomy boat for daysailing.
9. Lightning sailors sail hard, but they're not too cutthroat - someone's always ready to answer questions.
10. The class management is as good as you'll find in one-design sailing.

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