Lightning Championships come to Ecuador
Published on November 15th, 2017
The International Lightning Class will be holding its South American, International Masters, and World Championships this month in Salinas, Ecuador. The South Americans and International Master World Championships will be occurring concurrently (Nov. 17-20) with the World Championship to follow (Nov. 22-25).
All three championships will be hotly contested, with a multitude of past class and other international champions vying for the three titles. Salinas lies roughly on the equator and should provide a level playing field for the championships, with moderate breeze and temperatures forecasted for the entire event.
The South Americans, an open regatta, will see competitors from 11 nations squaring off in what is both a tune-up regatta for the World Championship and an important event for Pan-American qualification for a number of South American nations.
Reigning North American Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Javier Conte is a favorite, along with reigning Snipe World Champion Raul Rios of Puerto Rico. American Ched Proctor and 5-time Lightning World Champion Tito Gonzalez will also provide stark competition.
The field for the World Championship is even more competitive, with 6 past Lightning class world champions, 5 past North American champions, Olympic medalists, and countless other sailors with championships in classes from the Sunfish to the Etchells.
Additionally, the reigning North American, North American masters, South American, and Pan-am Games champions will all be competing in what is sure to be one of the most skilled and deep fleets that the class has ever seen.
Aside from the leading competitors from the South Americans and Masters, past Lightning World Champion David Starck is returning to try and regain his title with the same team he captured the championship with in 2013. A young team of college sailors led by Nick Sertl may also contest the championship. This goes without recognizing that far more teams than were mentioned will be right in the running; in a fleet laden with this many skilled sailors, anything can happen.
Source: Doug Wake