Lightning Boat Grant Program

About the Program:

The ILCA wants to give selected young sailors an opportunity to experience Lightning racing at it's best. ILCA will provide a competitive boat, will pay for insurance and substantial regatta expenses. The grant applications will be reviewed and critiqued with regard to the listed selection criteria. Applications must be received by January 31st to be considered for the following sailing season.

Boat Grant

Each applicant is expected to sail in a predetermined number of races, maintain the boat and equipment and exhibit the highest level of sportsmanship. The grant is for use of the boat and equipment for one season. At the end of the season the boat may be available for purchase, depending on the situation. Each recipient will be assigned a “mentor“ for the season.

 If Selected :

  • You will be required to maintain the boat and equipment in top condition.
  • You will be assigned a mentor and you will be required to report to him/her on a regular basis.
  • You will be required to write some articles about this program and your experience racing the Lightning.
  • You will be expected to exhibit a high degree of sportsmanship and responsibility.
  • You will be required to maintain records and submit receipts for your expenses.

To apply for this grant, read the Grant Requirements and Selection Criteria, complete the application and e-mail it to the ILCA office along with any supporting documents.  If necessary, these can be printed and mailed.

The Lightning was designed by Olin Stephens in 1938 and quickly became the most popular boat in the US. Today there have been nearly 16000 built and it is still one of the strongest and most active classes in the US. It is an International Class with activity in South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and North America. In the US there are very active fleets with many weekend regattas throughout the year. The highest concentration of boats is along the East Coast and Great Lakes, but there is plenty of activity in most places where people race sailboats.

The Lightning is raced with a team of three. It is fast enough to be exciting, slow enough to be very tactical and the boat is very physical to sail in a breeze. Optimum crew weight is 450 to 500 lbs. The boat weighs 700 pounds and sitting on the trailer with covers, sails and gear the all up weight is about 1100 lbs so it can be safely towed with almost any vehicle.

The ILCA has supported youth sailing for many years. Every year there is a Junior North American Championship, and a Youth World Championship is held every other year. Many top sailors spent a lot of time racing Lightnings when they were young: Andy Horton, Jay and Jody Lutz, Greg and Matt Fisher, Tim Healy, Brad Read, Ken Read, Dave Dellenbaugh and Ted Turner to name a few.