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2017 Lightning Boat Grant Program Recipients

Published on May 4th, 2017

The International Lightning Class Association has selected two talented female skippers – Miia Newman and Nikka Stoger – as the 2017 recipients of the Lightning Boat Grant Program.

“This year’s grantees will experience the great equality of the ILCA,” said ILCA Past President Debbie Probst, noting how the class boasts a 40% female participation rate at many larger regattas. “Women are respected on shore, on the water and as members of the governing board. By no means does this indicate women are given a break . . . every sailor works equally hard to make it to the front of the fleet in this highly competitive class!”

Miia Newman from Biloxi, Mississippi, grew up sailing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and began her racing career at Biloxi Yacht Club. She continued racing at Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, Louisiana, home of Lightning Fleet #62, while on the sailing team at Tulane University. After graduating, Miia plans to continue her education with a Masters in Environmental Health Sciences.

The balance of her sailing team will consist of Jessica Oswalt from Center Moriches, NY who is currently the sailing coach at Tulane University and an alumna. Malcolm Kriegel is the other team member from New York, NY and Shelter Island YC. Malcolm is an undergraduate and sailor at Tulane.

Nikka Stoger, from Neebing, Ontario, Canada started her sailing career in 2012 but quickly realized the sport of sailing was her passion. She obtained CANsail levels 1-4 and became an instructor for Sail Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. Nikka sails both keelboats and Lightnings at Temple Reef Sailing Club, home of Lightning Fleet #279 and is currently a fourth-year student at Lakehead University in the Honors Bachelor of Science Forestry Program.

Her crew is Courtney Rizzuto who is also a sailing instructor for Sail Thunder Bay and a graduate of the Royal Canadian Navy sailing program. Rounding out the crew are sisters Scotia and Jean Evans who are both lifelong Lightning sailors at TRSC.

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 in one season.

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.

Program detailsPast recipients

Source: Laura Jeffers, ILCA Executive Secretary

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