Connecting with the next generation

Published on May 15th, 2019

When the International Lightning Class Association recognized the normal flow of young people into the class had been slowed due to the growth of youth sailing in age-based boats, the organization launched an initiative to help reestablish this connection.

Now in its thirteenth season, the Lightning Boat Grant Program 2019 recipients selected are two women skippers that will gain the benefit of competitive boats plus substantial regatta expenses for one season of racing along with a dedicated mentor for guidance.

• Darby Reddaway and her team of Wheeler Sutton and Hannah Gersch are from Atlanta, GA and will be sailing with the Lake Lanier Fleet. Reddaway and her teammates sail for the Georgia Tech Sailing Team and are “thrilled to join a class that is dedicating time and resources to sailors of our age. Besides, it will be nice to sail something bigger than a 420.” Their mentor will be longtime Lightning sailor Pam Burke.

• Christine Moloney and her crew of Sarah Warren and Christine’s cousin Grace Woodcock will sail with both the Central NY and Lake Erie Districts. Christine and Sarah sailed for Hobart and William Smith College, with Christine already having ties to the Class and the Buffalo Canoe Club (BBC). With the 2019 North American Championships at the BCC, “I knew this would be the perfect year to get a team together” explains Moloney. “This is a great opportunity to sail with my college teammate again and introduce her to a great class.” Their mentor will be veteran Lightning Sailor Jed Dodge.

“This was one of our most talented application pools to date,” noted Boat Grant Program Co-Chair, Matthew Schon. “It is great to see this level of interest from these young adults in a Class that has been around for 80+ years. The Boat Grant Program is committed to getting this 20-something demographic into the competitive Lightning Class. We hope to get all applicants into the Class at some level by year end and encourage those that were not awarded a boat to re-apply for next year.”

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