Dec 3, 2012, 5:43 PM
Post #2 of 5
Here are comments from Ed Adams, past Star world champion and new Lightning owner:
Re: [The Publisher] Lightning Class - Capturing the Imagination
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The Lightning Class has always been forward thinking about class growth.
Every person on the boat has to join the class, but I think it is only $10 for a crew. That puts them on an email list, so they get the newsletter and regatta announcements.
Every regatta has a standard web page, with links for local housing, and a list of "who's coming." You can easily search the archives to see what attendance was like in the past. And if you within driving distance, they send you email prompts every week about upcoming events and why you should attend.
At the regattas you have the aging class stalwarts, and a smaller, but still sizeable contingent of sailors who have graduated from the youth program. The average age is still quite a bit older than you would want for a healthy class, but they have managed to keep regatta attendance up.
They held the NAs in Houston this year, which I thought was risky, given that only 13 Laser Full Rigs showed up for the NAs in Houston the month before. But 50+ Lightnings came, and I think that speaks very highly of the class. The primary builder, Tom Allen, has a year's backlog of boat orders (usually around 10 boats), again a healthy sign.
As for me, I was looking for a class with a healthy regatta schedule, good competition, and a boat that was inexpensive to purchase and maintain. Cheap entertainment. You can get a regatta-winning used boat like mine for 10 grand, and other than sails, you really don't have to spend much to maintain it. Class rules are strict, so it really is a "turn-key" proposition. I don't have the energy anymore to spend my evenings upside down under the foredeck trying to invent custom rigging systems.