Tenth Anniversary of Lightning Boat Grant Program

Published on May 12th, 2016

The International Lightning Class is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their Boat Grant Program, which to date has introduced 29 teams and 90+ participants to the Lightning Class. Many are still actively involved in the Class and eight recipients have purchased their own Lightning. It is expected for the program’s impact to increase as these young teams get older.

ILCA Class members Bill Fastiggi and Allan Terhune launched the program in 2007 to give selected young sailors an opportunity to experience Lightning racing at its best. In the US/Canada, the ILCA provides to selected applicants a competitive boat, insurance, mentoring, and substantial regatta expense reimbursement.

In North America, the 2016 recipients of the ILCA Boat Grant Program are Gordon Wolcott of Virginia Beach, VA/University of VA Alumni and Andreas Adam of Annapolis, MD/SUNY Maritime. Both will represent the Boat Grant Program on the National circuit this summer.

Gordon and Andreas both got a taste of sailing Lightnings last summer and revealed that the competitive fleets and camaraderie is what led them to apply for the program.

Team Wolcott will include crew Elizabeth “Lizzie” Chambers (Mooresville, NC/College of Charleston Alumni) and Chris Stessing (Buffalo, NY/University of VA Alumni).

“After two years of being away from a structured sailing program and being on the water almost every day, I have been exploring ways of getting back into competitive sailing in a way that it affordable,” explains Wolcott. “This past fall I sailed my first ever Lightning event, and after two days of great sailing in various breeze conditions, I knew that I wanted to apply. The International Lightning Class Association’s Boat Grant Program is the ideal way for me to continue sailing against some of our sport’s most talented sailors.”

Team Adam includes Zach Hill (Annapolis, MD/SUNY Maritime) and Alex Ramos (Arnold, MD/University of MI Alumni).

“Having a chance to be able to compete during the summer in a strong one-design class will be a huge asset for not only college sailing but my entire sailing career,” remarked Adam.

Both Teams have a tremendous amount of sailing experience from every facet of the sport. Their collective achievements include sailing at youth, high school, and college national championships, honors and awards for sailing abilities, leadership and sportsmanship, coaching, all American honors, multiple national championships and even a world championship.

The Boat Grant Committee will host a 10th Anniversary party at the 2016 Samson Lightning North American Championships in Rochester, NY on August 13-19, with all past Boat Grant recipients and mentors to attend.

In the 10th Anniversary year, the Lightning Class is now expanding the program outside of North America. Daniel Mendoza and his crew from Peru have been awarded the first Boat Grant outside North America. The grant includes the shipment of a Lightning sailboat ready to race from the US to Peru for the duration of one year.

In order to become eligible for this program, Daniel and his crew had to provide the ILCA their sailing backgrounds and a sailing plan that includes not only local regattas but also participation in the 2016 South American Championship.

Daniel is a very experienced sailor, with participation in South American’s, World Championships and Pan Am Games sailing in the J/24 Class. His front crew will be Jimena Gaviño, also an avid sailor with lots of experience in the J24 Class and IRC. His middle crew will be Augusto Lafosse, bringing years of racing experience in the J/24 Class, and runner-up at the 1996 Opti World and South American Championships.

About the Lightning Boat Grant Program:
In 2007 ILCA Class members Bill Fastiggi and Allan Terhune brought an out of the box concept to conception. They were awarded the 2007 US Sailing Leadership Award for their efforts in launching what would become a benchmark program across the sailing community. The Program gives selected young sailors an opportunity to experience Lightning racing at its best. In the US/Canada, the ILCA provides a competitive boat, insurance and substantial regatta expense reimbursement. The grant applications are reviewed and critiqued to listed selection criteria. The Class typically grants two boats each season but has granted up to five.

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 is assigned a “mentor” for the season.

By providing opportunities for young adult sailors to experience the Lightning we are helping to ensure the ILCA will be strong for many more years to come. The program is funded by the ILCA Fund and annual donations from members.

More information on the Program: http://lightningclass.org/racing/boatGrant/index.asp

Full List of Past Recipients: http://lightningclass.org/racing/boatGrant/bgRecipients.asp

Source: Laura Jeffers, Executive Secretary, International Lightning Class Association

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