Lightning Boat Grant Program

 

February 27, 2008 NEWS — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2008 Nominees for the International Lightning

Boat Grant Program Announced

Following up on the “wildly successful” first year of the Lightning Boat Grant Program, the ILCA is proud to announce the nominees for the 2008 Program. Ranging in age from early teens to late 20’s, nineteen applications came in from North America, Greece, and Finland. Five teams have been granted fully rigged, insured, and race-ready Lightnings, while a sixth team was given a “Developmental” grant boat.

“The boat grant program has gained momentum,” said ILCA president Steve Davis. “Not only did Allen Boat Company and Nickels Boat Works both lend brand-new boats, we have new suits of sails from North Sails, Quantum Sails, and Vermont Sailing Partners. It goes to show how deeply committed the Class—and its suppliers— are to fostering young teams.”

Skipper Dan Perkins, 19, has been granted the “Colin Park Memorial Boat” in honor of the late Lightning President and Champion Colin Park. He will be sailing out of Lightning Fleet 85 in Niantic, CT. His crew includes Tripp Cashell and Ben Greenfield, both 19. All three are members of the BU Terriers Varsity sailing team, and will have former ILCA North American Champion (2002) Bill Healy as their class-appointed mentor. Team Profile

20-year-old skipper Clinton Hayes, also based out of Niantic, CT, will also be able to call on Bill Healy as mentor. Hayes, a native of East Haddam, CT, will sail with Tyler Baeder, 20, and Steve Widdis, 21. All three are students at the University of Vermont. Team Profile

Sailing out of Colorado’s Fleet 488, Nick Farina, 26, is just finishing up his PhD work at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His team includes fellow Vermonter Elizabeth Henry-Hooker, 24, who is a student at the University of Colorado, and 19-year-old Colorado native Reeve Dunn, who is a sophomore at Tufts University. ILCA president Steve Davis is the team’s mentor. Team Profile

Justin Coplan, 20, will be sailing the “Bruce Goldsmith Memorial Boat” in honor of the late Lightning legend. He’ll be based at Fleet 75 in Nyack, NY, with Robert Sengstacken as mentor. A student at Rochester Institute of Technology’s, Coplan was the captain of the sailing team last fall. His teammates include high-school seniors, Ellen Turk and Fiona Gordon of Nyack, NY, both 17. Team Profile

Justin Skipper Will Brown, 20, will be based out of Barnegat Light, NJ, Fleet 335. His team includes Ben Siegal, 21, a fellow student at Brown University, and Leigh Kempton, 21, from Boston College. ILCA Executive Board member John Faus will be the team’s mentor. Team Profile

16-year-old Collin Kirby of Purcellville, VA, was granted the “Developmental” position. He will skipper a grant boat in the Fleet 50 of the Potomac River. He and his teammates, Ian Turnipseed and Sam Athey, are all Juniors at Loudoun Valley High School. Team Profile

About the Boat Grant Program

“These are new or nearly-new Lightnings, with all the bells and whistles,” reports Bill Fastiggi, one of the originators of the program. “Thanks to the generosity of the class and the vendors, these teams can pretty much hook up the trailer and hit the road to do as many regattas as they can.” In addition, Fastiggi explained, each team has an official mentor in the class, who can provide coaching, advice, guidance, and help manage the day-to-day upkeep of the boats.

“Bill Fastiggi and Allan Terhune tackled the problem of how to attract and keep young people in the class by suggesting we fund a boat for a young team for a season,” said ILCA president Steve Davis. “The response from inside and outside the class has been amazing: people donated boats, sails, covers, gear, lent boats and sent checks. As a result, we will have six additional young teams racing this year. And that’s a win-win for the sport, the class, and the sailors.”

Fastiggi and Terhune were awarded U.S. Sailing’s One-Design Leadership Award in 2007 for their efforts.

According to Bobby Martin, one of the first young skippers to have a grant boat in 2007, the program exceeded expectations, “My boat was brand new. It was amazing. When I ran into issues, my mentor and members of my local Fleet were always there to help…I never could have imagined that I would have enjoyed the class and the boat this much.”

“We hope that even more young sailors will apply to the program, knowing what a positive experience it's been,” said John Faus of the ILCA Executive Board, who helped organize this year's program. “This really works out for the sailors and the Class.”

The selection criteria can be found on the ILCA website: ILCA Boat Grant Program Criteria

The International Lightning, a 19-foot sloop designed by Sparkman & Stephens in 1938, can be found in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. Class alumni include Carl Eichenlaub, this year’s 470 Olympic team of Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler, Bill Shore, Tito Gonzalez, U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtswomen Jody (Swanson) Starck, Betsy Alison, and Bonnie Shore, U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtsmen Ken Read, Dave Curtis, Dennis Conner, Jeff Linton, and ISAF Sailor of the Year Ed Baird—many of whom got their start in the boat sailing with friends and family.

For additional information, contact Jan Davis at 303-325-5886, email: office@lightningclass.org.