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Old 05-05-2013
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My sons were asking

We were just out in the yard admiring the Lightning on its trailer, and one of them asked what kind of waves it can take.
What kind of weather can Lightning handle?
My two sons are about to learn how to sail in it this summer.
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: My sons were asking

I doubt anything on an inland lake would cause much trouble. Out on Lake Michigan, being at open cockpit boat, it would be a bit risky in big waves.
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: My sons were asking

thanks , that Bristol looks substantial.
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Old 05-05-2013
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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.
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: My sons were asking

Modern Lightnings have a better flotation setup than the ones we used to sail (which had none.) We got a gentle tow after capsizing in order to get the water out over the back of the cockpit. I crewed at the North American Championships one year, (100 boats), and as Caleb suggests, it blew about 25 knots. Coming from Long Island Sound, we had never planed in the boat before. We were all High School students, and weren't as heavy as many of the older sailors. To keep the boat flat we loosened the hiking straps until we ended up sitting on the topsides. (This is now called "droop hiking".) With that much wind, and a long fetch, the waves on Lake Ontario built up into a quick chop about two or three feet high, which the boat handled without too much trouble, though it was pretty wet. Before going out in conditions like that it might be better to get some practice in lighter air.

Last edited by paulk; 05-05-2013 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 05-06-2013
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Re: My sons were asking

lightnings are more seaworthy than they appear.. but yes, like my old GP.. they pound terrible in the chop. If you can keep them upright, the biggest problem will be the crew giving up before the boat
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Old 05-06-2013
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Re: My sons were asking

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
... and as Caleb suggests, it blew about 25 knots. Coming from Long Island Sound, we had never planed in the boat before. We were all High School students, and weren't as heavy as many of the older sailors. To keep the boat flat ...
I can only add to that I recall getting my Lightning up on a plane a few times in wind around 15 - 18 knots, maybe less with only two adults on board. A few times with my wife on board on a broad reach and another time with a sailing buddy when we raised the spinnaker and nearly crossed LI Sound from Huntington to Stamford, CT at a screeching pace.
The Lightning can go just like lightning but a lot can go wrong quickly when you are going that fast. Still, it is a blast to sail one if you can keep it from capsizing.
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Old 05-06-2013
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Re: My sons were asking

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
Modern Lightnings have a better flotation setup than the ones we used to sail (which had none.) We got a gentle tow after capsizing in order to get the water out over the back of the cockpit. I crewed at the North American Championships one year, (100 boats), and as Caleb suggests, it blew about 25 knots. Coming from Long Island Sound, we had never planed in the boat before. We were all High School students, and weren't as heavy as many of the older sailors. To keep the boat flat we loosened the hiking straps until we ended up sitting on the topsides. (This is now called "droop hiking".) With that much wind, and a long fetch, the waves on Lake Ontario built up into a quick chop about two or three feet high, which the boat handled without too much trouble, though it was pretty wet. Before going out in conditions like that it might be better to get some practice in lighter air.
Mine is a 1977 Holman Nichols#13121. It does have the big molded in seat/ flotation tanks. I will have the boys tip her over and practice righting her in the first few times out. Thanks
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Re: My sons were asking

Quote:
thanks , that Bristol looks substantial.
That was my goal with this boat. Went from a Catalina 22 sailing on inland lakes in Wisconsin, to this B27 for sailing on Lake Michigan.
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Re: My sons were asking

Send them out with PFDs and let them figure it out. They'll be ear in the water soon enough then it's only a gust away. It floats, they'll learn.
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