Tartan 27' owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Re: My sons were asking
I owned a Lightning for a few years and sailed it on LI Sound which is not known for its big waves.
I'm not sure that big waves are the main issue though. Capsizing a Lightning would be my main concern. In heavy chop and wind it might be very difficult to right the boat again and then bail it out. Some owners install extra flotation around the gunnels to add to the buoyancy of the boat if it gets swamped/capsized.
In modest sized waves (~ 2') the Lightning will pound a bit as it climbs over each, making it a bit of a jarring experience.
The hot shot sailors who race in "the Nationals" have been known to race Lightnings in some fairly substantial winds (~ 25 knots or so) and bigger wind usually means bigger waves, as we know.
Your boys will do fine if they can keep the mast pointed up.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen
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