Lightning NA Championship Complete
Published on August 19th, 2016
Rochester, NY (August 19, 2016) – The forecast was dismal for racing, but the PRO Hank Stuart and the Race Committee at the Rochester Yacht Club showed great patience. The fleet went out in a light breeze and were held in postponement for about an hour. The expected Northeasterly filled in a little earlier than predicted and the fleet began racing in 6-8 knots which increased to about 10 in the third race of the day. Leaders Todd Wake from Sheboygan YC in Wisconsin and his team of wife Kristine and Neal Fowler continued to dominate the 34 boat Championship Fleet and posted a 2, 2, 6 to win the 2016 Samson Lightning North American Championship with just 16 points.
“Kristine, Neal and I have sailed together for the past 5 years. We have spent a lot of time tweaking the boat set up and tuning techniques. The moderate conditions during the championship series fell right into our performance sweet spot. Our starts were fairly good, but more importantly we had the ability to hold tight lanes off the line. This allowed us to have a little more choice in terms of which direction to go in the sometimes unpredictable conditions. Once we were in the open, our speed really worked for us, and we concentrated on sailing fast toward pressure. After years of being close, it felt great to win this year’s North American Championship, and nothing beats being able to share it with my wife, family, and all our friends in the Lightning class.” Todd Wake.
Ched Proctor from Cedar Point YC in West Port, CT sailing with his son Charlie and Meredith Killion posted 4, 4 in the final two races to finish in second. Justin Coplan from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania sailing with Danielle Prior and Bill Wiggins won the last race to finish in third. Rochester locals Mark Sertl sailing with wife Cory and Christine Moloney won the battle for fourth over son Nicholas Sertl. Nicholas and his crew of Dylan Farrell and Haley McMahon were also the top Junior Team and finished in fifth.
Other Rochester locals, John Newell, Owen MacDonald and Ava Esquier won the final race of the President’s Cup Division to win the title with 13 points. There was a three way tie for 2nd. Alejandro Perez from Chile sailing with Rodrigo Robles and Jose Lopez won the tie breaker by winning Races 1 and 2. Jonathan Martinetti from Salinas, Ecuador sailing with Francisco Almeida and Juan Rafael Santos finished in third by winning Race 4. Michael Zonnenberg from St Petersburg, FL sailed consistent with his drop race being a 6th place. Zonnenberg was joined by Adam Ceely and Michael Booker. Debbie Probst from the Buffalo YC sailing with Jennifer Millar and Karl Felger won Race 5 and finished in fifth place.
2016 Junior North American Champions, Doug Wake (Sheboygan, WI) and Meredith Ryan sailing with Katie Braungart continued to dominate the Governor’s Cup. The Team won 3 races and sailed really consistent dropping a 6 and won the division with just 8 total points. Skylar Mungar from Oswego, NY sailing with Roy Ingham and Ted Chilek finished in second with 13 points. Class President, Victor Lobos from Chile sailing with brother Sebastian and Gram Slaterry won the final race to win the tie breaker for third place over Stu Nickerson from Maine sailing with Kip Hamblet and Elizabeth Elliott Whitener. Rochester local, Daniel Lawless, Peter Steo and Jenny Rosenbauer rounded out the top 5 with 28 points.
The 2016 Samson North American Championships showed some impressive statistics. 32 boats or 43% of the Fleet were sailing with 2 or more family members. Of this 11 teams were sailing with spouses and 4 were all family boats. 19 boats or 26% of the Fleet were helmed by skippers under the age of 30. Of that 13 Teams contained all crew members all under the age of 30. The fleet had 6 helmswomen and 15 first time competitors to a Lightning North American Championship. The future looks bright in the Lightning Class.
Source: International Lightning Class Association