Bobby wrote up this great description of the Classic Boat Rally, which took part in conjunction with the WJM NAs last weekend. Thanks Bobby — this is a great read!
This year for the first time the WJM’s added a “Classic” fleet to the event. Eligibility was for any lighting over 40 years old or one built of wood. Given the event is midweek attendance was a bit limited, but we had five boats. The event was also a bit different in that we had just two days of racing separated by a longer cruise / daysail on the middle day, which was a lot of fun, and I would recommend that our fleet should try such a format sometime, perhaps as part of the PRSA spring regatta, which already suffers low attendance. Such a thing might spice it up. The cruise was certainly relaxing.
The class also did a nice thing by setting up the classic boats in a row that everyone had to walk past on their way to the clubhouse. That lead to many people stopping, looking over the boats, asking a lot of questions, and telling bring back a lot of memories for a lot of long term Lightning sailors.
Our best restoration award went to Mike Seibert from Vermont, with his 1956 Etchells built lightning. His boat is a spectacular restoration of a model of Lightning that was essential in the evolution of the Lightning Class and is the earliest example of the hull shape we largely enjoy today in the modern boats.
The racing portion of the event was won by Lightning #2. That’s right, Hull #2. 76 years old and still fast. Crewing on that boat was an old Annapolis Lightning sailor that Frank and Jim may remember, Bob Shapiro. Bob is the son of George Shapiro, for whom the No-Gas regatta is named. Having #2 at the event was very special, and the boat still has a turn of speed. Note that #2 is not a Skaneatelas built boat. It was home built and has a single plank bottom. It also sports a modern mast and sails. (Like myself, they have both a classic rig and a modern rig for the boat)
Your’s truly actually won all three races, but I later withdrew my finish in the first race having followed the Masters fleet to what was the wrong mark for the Classic fleet.
Roger Slade, from Geneseo NY also sailed the event in his #8004, which is a Nickels & Holman twin to my boat. Roger’s 14 year old daughter, Emily crewed for me for the second time this year as well. We also met for the first time a Lightning sailor from Saranac lake NY (Lake Placid area), Barry Brogan, sailing what we now refer to as a “Fiberglassic”, meaning an old glass lightning.
All in all it was a great time. Not much wind, and the classic boats actually were the only fleet to get to sail on the middle day.