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Proposed Lightning Jib Window Rewrite

This proposal was passed at the Governing Board Meeting, August 15, 2016.

The following proposal has been presented and will be up for vote at the Governing Board Meeting that will be held during the North American Championship (August 13-19), Rochester, New York. Please review the proposal and let Chief Measurer, Bill Clausen, or any member of the Executive Committee, know if you have any questions.

Current Class rules limit the window size, number of windows and location in the jib.  Recently, some sail makers have started to develop jibs with smaller panels. The smaller panels improve the sail’s shape and make it stronger. This has become practical with modern automated cutting and computer generated shaping. The smaller panels result in seams running through the ideal window location. It is more efficient to put the windows in panels prior to assembly of the panels. The one window restriction makes this impossible without shrinking the window size.  Efficient production dictates having more than one window. We have found that extending the window higher in the sail, makes it easier for the helmsman and crew to see what is happening to leeward making it easier to see boats on the opposite tack when sitting on the rail. This visibility helps avoid collisions. The greater visibility leads to more involvement by everyone in tactical decisions.  So it is also more fun to sail with more window area.

Lightning Plans and Specifications, Article V Sails, Section 74 (second paragraph)
A single window is permitted in the jib for viewing approaching boats not to exceed .232 m2 (2.5 square feet), with a maximum fore and aft dimension of 762.00 mm (30"), and maximum vertical dimension of 304.80 mm (12").

One or more windows are permitted in the jib for viewing approaching boats. The total of all windows not to exceed .35 m2 (3.76737 square feet), with a maximum fore and aft dimension of 762.00 mm (30"), and maximum vertical dimension of 500 mm (20").
More window area will have all of the benefits with no added expense.

The benefits are:
  1. Would ease assembly, and allow for a larger window/viewing area. 
  2. A larger window improves safety by increasing the probability of seeing an impending collision while there is still time to avoid it.
  3. Makes sailing more fun because everyone can see where other boats are with less effort. 
  4. Multiple smaller windows are less apt to break then 1 larger window.

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