Jody Starck wins Lightning Winter Championship
Published on March 22nd, 2023
Jody Starck with crew Tom Starck and Elizabeth Starck (USA) bested 41 boats in breezy and shifty conditions on March 20-22 on Tampa Bay to claim the 2023 Lightning Winter Championship in St. Petersburg, FL.
Newly minted Helly Hansen Champion Jody Lutz with crew Jay Lutz and Chris Schon (USA) took second and were the top Masters competitor. Current South American Champion Felipe Robles with crew Paula Herman and Carmina Malsch (CHI) took third, current World Champion David Starck with crew Debbie Probst and Jenna Probst (USA) took 4th, and the 2019 Pan Am Lightning Gold Medalist Javier Conte with crew Martina Silva and Trinidad Silva (ARG) finished 5th.
With the 2023 Pan Am Games in Chile only seven months away, seven of the top ten boats sailed in the Pan Am configuration of 2 female and 1 male crew. This resulted in the top 10 having an even split of 15 men and 15 women.
The second and final event of the Lightning Southern Circuit is the 2023 Deep South Regatta on March 24-25 in Savannah, GA.
One of the unique features of the Lightning Southern Circuit is the Mentor Program. The program, subsidized by the Class, includes set-up and tuning assistance, morning briefing with professional weather forecasts, on the water coaching, and a post-race debrief.
In addition, competitors are matched up with top teams to do speed lineups before the races and to review the conditions. This year Greg Fisher from Evolution Sails, and Nick Turney from North sails led the program. For his efforts on the Mentor Program and his leadership on the Lightning Boat Grant Program, Greg Fisher was awarded the George V. Fisher Sportsmanship Award.