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Meet the Pan Am Lightning Competitors!

Laura Jeffers | Published on 10/25/2023

Santiago Pan Am Sports Logo
Lightning Flash

ARGENTINA - Javier Conte, Martina Silva, Trinidad Silva
Team Conte Chilean Nationals

Team Conte at the 2023 Chilean National Championship held in Concepcion in August. L-R Trinidad, Javier and Martina. 

Javier, the helmsman, has been sailing the Lightning since 2015. He won a gold medal in Toronto 2015 as a crew and in Lima 2019 as a helmsman. He also won two World Championships in the class 2017 in Ecuador and 2019 in Finland and the 2019 Europeans held in Finland as well. Besides the Lightning he has sailed in many classes primarily in the 470, obtaining the bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympic games. 

Martina and me, Trinidad Silva, are now the new crew preparing to compete in the 2023 Pan Am Games. We are sisters. We Started sailing the Lightning with Javier in the South Americans in Ecuador December 2021. We finished third in the 2022 Worlds held in Wilmington and qualified our country for the Pan Am's. Before the Lightning we sailed many dinghy's, J70's and also a lot of match racing. We companied for London 2012 in the Elliots. Fun fact: Javier used to be our coach. 

We are really looking forward to represent our country in the next Pan Am Games. For us girls, it will be a first.

BRAZIL - Thomas Sumner, Ana Barbachan, Larissa Juk
Team Brazil
L-R Ana, Thomas and Larissa

We started sailing Lightnings together as a Team in June 2023. Thomas has a long history of sailing Lightnings and has won the National Championship, South American Championship and a 3-time Youth World Champion. Larissa sails with him in the Lightning sometimes. She also holds many I
nternational titles in Match Racing and Snipes. Ana regularly sails in 470 and has gone to 3 Olympic Games (London, Rio and Toquio).

From Larissa, "Representing Brazil in Pan Am Games is amazing! We have been looking forward to this for a long time, we are really happy to be here. This is the first time in the Pan Am Games for all of us. The big goal is to sail our best and fight for a medal!"

CANADA - Luke Ramsey, Rachel Green, Jessica Hirschbold
Team Ramsay
Luke Ramsay is from Vancouver and the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. Rachel Green is from Burlington, ON and the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. Jessica Hirschbold is from Victoria, B.C. and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. 

Luke is new to the Lightning Class. His previous sailing experience includes: Lasers (2006 Youth World Champion), 470's (2012 Olympics), Nacra 17's (2016 Olympics) and Sunfish (2 Silver Medals at the Pan Am Games 2015 and 2019).

Jessica started sailing when she was four, but it was at 15 that she really saw she had a passion for the sport. "Growing up, I was always around boats - from exploring on keelboats to competitively racing in different boats,” Hirschbold said. She has been actively sailing the 29er and has eyes on the 2028 Olympics in the 470. Her expectation for the Pan American Games is to achieve the best possible result for Canada and perhaps bring home a medal.   

Rachel is the only member of Team Canada with previous Lightning class experience, having competed in the Class at the Youth World Championships. A fourth-generation sailor, credits the challenge of sailing that has kept her involved. “It’s a problem-solving sport. The boats are so different, there are so many different positions (within a crew),” she said. “I also like the longevity of the sport. My grandfather didn’t really start racing competitively until he was in his 40s.

With less than 10 days of Lightning sailing experience for the Team, the 2023 Games will be their first big event in the Class. They are looking forward to learning from the other boats as there will be many good sailors with lots of experience in the Class at the event.
What are you looking forward to the most about the Games? Ramsay replied, "The sailing, it is more fun when there is a lot of the line." 

The team is excited to represent Canada, "It is a huge privilege!" 

CHILE - Felipe Robles, Carmina Malsch, Paula Herman 
Team Chile
L-R:  Carmina Malsch, from Santiago, Felipe Robles (Flecha), also from Santiago, and Paula Herman, from Concon 

The three have sailed in the Lightning Class for some time. Flecha since 2010 (and earning many championships along the way including 8 South American Championship Titles), and Paula since 2016, the year she went to the Youth Worlds in Ecuador. Carmina joined the Team in March of 2022. 

These games will be Flecha’s third Pan Am Games: 2011 in the Snipe and 2019 in the Lightning. This will be Paula's second Pan Am Games. In LIMA 2019, with Flecha and Andres Guevara they won the bronze medal.
From Paula: "We are really excited for the Pan Am Games, especially since they are in our country! We are really happy to represent our country here, for the first time." 

ECUADOR - Jonathan Martinetti, Moira Padilla, Alisson Haon
Team Martinetti
The Ecuadorian Lightning Team is relatively new to the Lightning Class and was formed in 2022 specifically to compete in these 2023 Pan American Games. 

Jonathan Martinetti, Youth World and South American Lightning Champion is at the helm. He competed in the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and won the Gold medal in the Sunfish Class. Moira Padilla started sailing Lightnings at the 2022 Bolivarian Games and her team won the Gold medal also with Martinetti at the helm.
Alisson Haon is new to the world of sailing. She started to crew on Lightning 6 months ago, however, her physical abilities and long hours of practice have made her an excellent crew in the Class.

PERU - Daniel Mendoza, Jimena Gavino, Maria Garcia Vegas
Team Peru
Daniel Mendoza (Lima, Peru) Lightning sailor since 2017 and 6 times National Champion, have the honor to lead the Lightning team that will represent Peru in the 2023 Pan American Games, alongside my crew mates, Jimena Gavino (Lima, Peru) and Maria Gracia Vegas (Lima, Peru).

From Daniel: "During the last Pan American Games in Lima 2019, which was our first participation, we gained a lot of experience that we are planning on using this time in order to achieve our goal of winning a medal. In order to achieve that and to be ready to compete against the high level competitors that we will face, we have  intensively prepared throughout the year to represent our country with pride and leave its name high."

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Allan Terhune, Jr., Madeline Gill, Sarah Chin
Team Terhune
L-R: Sarah, Madeline, Allan

"All three of us have grown up sailing and its a full part of our lives.  Both Madeline and I are professional sailors and do it for a living, and Sarah is a past Olympian and avid racer to this day.  We all love the sport dearly," remarks Allan. 
They all have a different amount of time in the Class. Sarah started at an earlier age with her family in NJ.   Allan started in 2002 and has been racing Lightnings since then - including adding his name to the North American Championship trophy 4 times. Madeline grew up at CPYC and the Lightning has been a part of her sailing from a very early age!

It's an amazing opportunity and a huge honor to represent our country at the Games. It means everything for us. The USA has had a storied past in the Pan Am Games, and we are focused on doing our best to add to the history of the teams success.  This will be our team's first time at the Games. 

We are looking forward to the top level competition and the opportunity to represent the USA at this high profile stage.  We know this will be an amazing showcase of the ILCA's strength and presence in sailing, and we are proud to be a part of it!

VENEZUELA - Yamil Saba, Andrea Saba, Dismary Bonillo
Team Saba
Yamil has been sailing for 40 years. He has sailed: Windsurf Division's I and II, Mistral, Laser Radial, Laser Standard, Nacra 17, F-18, SSL, Tornado, Snipe, Sunfish and now Lightnings! He likes to sail in various classes!  He's participated in the Olympics: Sydney 2000 and in Rio 2007 where his team won a silver medal in Hobie Cat 16. This will be his fifth Pan American Games (Mistral, 2 for the Hobie Cat 16, Nacra 17).

From Yamil: It brings me great satisfaction to be able to represent my country, but this time is more special since my crew is made up of my sister Andréa Saba and my friend Dismary Bonillo. W
e hope to be able to sail well and have a good championship.

Team VEN is new to the Lightning, sailing in their first event 10 months ago. "It is a very technical boat, with a good level of competition in the Class. It is also entertaining since it is sailed with 3 people! Those who sail in the Class have helped us a lot. We see first hand that the Lightning Class is very well organized. We hope that Venezuela will be active for a long time."

24 October - Venue Opens
24-27 October - Training Permitted
25-27 October - Equipment Inspection
28 October - 3 November - Racing (Note: Lightning Racing Oct 29, 30, 31, Nov 2, 3 ~ Noon starts)
3 November - 5 November - Medal Series Racing (Lightning Medal Racing Nov 4 ~ 1100 start)
(Please double check the official schedule listing for the most accurate information.)

How to follow: 
Live broadcast of Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games:

2023 Pan Am Games Site:

Pan American Sailing Site:

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