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2023 Boat Grant Teams Announced!

Laura Jeffers | Published on 6/15/2023

For Immediate Release

Tarpon Springs, FL June 15, 2023 –

The International Lightning Class Association’s Boat Grant Program begins its 16th season by announcing three 2023 grant recipient teams.

“These recipients are recent graduates of strong collegiate sailing teams, underscoring the Class’s focus on encouraging young sailors to continue their involvement in one design racing after college,” explains program Co-Chair Greg Fisher. 2023 is especially exciting as all three recipients are geographically spread over the east coast and mid-west.

Tarkan Bolat and his teammates Michael Rivken and Katie Benstead are all recent graduates of the University of Illinois Sailing Team. All three are eager to expand their knowledge of triple handed boats, while hoping to find their home in the Lightning Class. They are new to the boat but watch out for them on the racecourse! They will be based out of Chicago, IL and mentored by David Stix from the Mid-West District. In his application interview, Bolat mentioned “Katie, Michael and I are thrilled about testing the Lightning and joining a competitive fleet. We stumbled upon the program by chance and had a warm positive feeling throughout the entire process. We already created a regatta calendar and are looking forward to making an impact on the racecourse!”

Team Bolat

L-R Michael Rivken, Katie Benstead, Tarkan Bolat


Owen Moore and Ed Coleman will team up with 2022 Boat Grant Alumni Emma Hawko who can’t get enough Lightning sailing! Ed and Emma both graduated from McGill University in Quebec, Canada while Owen graduated from Wesleyan University. All three met Lightning sailing on different boats but look to improve their knowledge and spread enthusiasm about the Class. They will be based out of Vermont and mentored by Don Brush. Emma expressed her excitement with “Owen, Ed, and I are so excited to receive the Boat Grant this summer!! Owen and I have met many of you already and we are excited to further our skills. We’re happy to be bringing in our friend Ed who will be new to the Class this year. We are looking forward to participating in Fleet 332’s weekly racing and the larger events, including ACCs and North Americans.”

Team Moore

L-R Owen Moore, Ed Coleman, Emma Hawko


Jordan Wiggins and Sarah Ragle are both long time Lightning crews but look to team up with various strong sailors in hopes of drawing in more life-time members. Their potential crew list is full of current and recent college sailors, small keel boat racers, and many years of racing experience combined. They will be based out of Charleston, SC and mentored by Program co-chairs Ryan Davidson and Greg Fisher. Jordan is enthused to be chosen and said “The team and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the Boat Grant Program this year. I’ve always loved the Lightning and the Lightning Class so getting to campaign my own boat for a year will be an incredible opportunity.”

Team Wiggins

  L-R Jordan Wiggins, David Furst, Sarah Ragle, Jack Sutton


Boat Grant Program Co-Chair, Ryan Davidson is excited to help announce these great teams. As Boat Grant Alumni himself (2018) this program has expanded his sailing experiences over the past 5 years with highlights including a second-place finish at the 2019 South American Championship in Peru and officially becoming a Lightning boat owner in 2022. “I am excited to pass along the knowledge I’ve learned and welcome new sailors into the Class.”

More information about the 2023 Lightning Class Boat Grant Program can be found on the Lightning Class website or by contacting the Class Office at or 727-942-7969. 

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