Rocky Mountain Lightning Fleet # 488
Last updated 11/21/2016
About the Lightning
The Lightning is a 19 foot trailerable centerboard sloop originally designed by Sparkman and Stephens as an affordable family day-sailor and racing boat. She has evolved into one of the most popular and competitive one design racing classes in the world.
The Lightning’s rig is simple, but offers sophisticated sail shape controls. The hull’s unique hard chine design combines stability and sail-carrying power with flat bottom sections that promote planning. A large spinnaker transforms the boat when the wind picks up. For a crew of 3, the boat presents interesting boat handling challenges in higher wind conditions.
Read more about crewing on a Lightning.
View the ILCA 75th Anniversary Slideshow.
About Fleet 488 In Colorado
The Rocky Mountain Lightning Fleet sails with DSA at Cherry Creek Lake in Denver and at regional regattas throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Fleet 488 members located north of Denver also sail at Union Reservoir. For more information, contact
To join Fleet 488, go to the website of the International Lightning Class Association and become a member, either as an Active (boat owner) Member; an Associate Member; or a Crew Member, selecting the US@Large District and Fleet # 488. To join or to renew your membership on line, go here. Here are the current Fleet members. The Class Association provides a valuable service for Lightning skippers and crew, with a wealth of information about Lightning events world-wide. Check out the ILCA website if you have not done so already.
Skippers – need crew?
Try our Crew Coordinator program — send a request to the Fleet Captain on Monday if you need crew for the upcoming Thursday Evening (Spring & Summer Series) or Saturday (Thaw-out & Frostbite Series).
Crew – looking for a ride?
Add your name to the Lightning Crew Connection list where we will maintain your contact information.
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Lightning Fleet 488 – Denver Colorado – 2016 Fleet Report
2016 started out for Fleet 488 with a Fleet party at Bill & Raeyane’s home on January 30. As the Lightning Class Flag flew from the from porch, 27 people arrived, and all but 2 of the active boats in the fleet were represented. This event is held as a potluck each year, and features not only the best sailors in Colorado, but some of the best cooking, microbrew beer, and privately made wine in the state. Raeyane and Bill were able to transform their living/dining room space into a single room and provide seating for 30 (with generous loans of tables and chairs from several fleet members). A grand time was had by all.
New for the party this year was a Fleet ‘Gear Locker’ with Lightning related merchandise, old versions of Lightning yearbooks, and nautical related books and material. By the end of the evening people had updated their yearbook collection, purchased sails, Loos gages, masthead and boom vang fittings. This may become a standard part of our Fleet gatherings.
Trophies for the 2015 Fleet Championship were awarded, with Steve Davis finishing third, David Thompson Second, and the team of Bill Cabrall, Raeyane Farrell, and Jeff Walsh first. In addition to the Season Championship Trophy, awarded annually since 2000, Norm Jarvis donated bottles of his home made (and quite drinkable) wine to David Thompson and Steve Davis. Steve has also received a second bottle as a ‘Keeper’ for his 2015 win.
In the business portion of the meeting, copies of membership applications to the Lightning Class, SAIL, and Denver Sailing Association were distributed to everyone at the party. Fleet Finances were discussed, and Bill Cabrall was elected Fleet Captain for 2016.
Our newest Lightning owner/skipper, Marnix Hoogwater, returned home in late January after a long hospital stay due to a skiing accident. Several Fleet Members aided in improvements to his boat over the winter, and he was able to return to the water during the summer season. We are delighted with his recovery.
The team of Steve Davis, Francine and Jim Ulatowski began the racing season with a 5th in the Saint Petersburg NOOD regatta, a great showing. The racing was very tight, with the team collecting 2 seconds, and 4 thirds out of 9 races.
Fleet 488 Members have a long tradition of supporting the sailing organizations that create and maintain our sport, and 2016 was no exception. This year the Fleet has supplied the Commodore, Rear Commodore, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Denver Sailing Association (David Thompson, Curtis Rist, Barb Thompson, and Julie Rist respectively), the Commodore of the Sailing Association of Intermountain Lakes (SAIL) (Curtis Rist), and the ILCA Chief Measurer (Bill Cabrall).
Fleet 488 sent three teams to the Southern Circuit (Team Cabrall, Team Davis and 2/3 of Team Mauk (Jim and Lori England). On the drive out Team Cabrall made it across the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee Rivers in one day, but did not succeeded in executing an end run around a severe weather system involving a low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico that was slinging massive amounts of moisture into the lower Mississippi River basin. Norm Jarvis and Bill Cabrall holed up on the east side of the system in Kuttawa, Kentucky in torrential rain and had to wait for a new day before continuing.
Once in Florida, everyone had a fantastic time at the 2016 Southern Circuit, getting in a full week of sailing days in Miami and Saint Petersburg. Fleet 488 did quite well at the circuit with Team Davis finishing 7th, the England’s 9th, and Team Cabrall a 22nd overall out of the 27 boats that sailed the entire circuit. On an individual race basis, Team Davis had several 4th places, The England’s were as high as 6th several times, and Team Cabrall pulled a pair of 17’s out of a fleet that had as many as 46 boats.
Life in the sun at the Southern Circuit
On the way back, Bill Cabrall and Norm Jarvis stopped in New Orleans to pick up a wooden mast for Tom Daroff, and brought it back to Colorado, arriving from the south 3 hours before a spring blizzard swept in from the north. Ah, Springtime in the Rockies!
A blood clot in his leg took Curtis Rist out of early season sailing for three months. In true Fleet 488 style, he spent those sailing days as Race Committee.
Over a long series of work days in the Spring, the DSA clubhouse was raised several feet and mounted on a set of motorhome axles in order to make it movable in the event of another high water experience at the lake. In addition to many days of labor, Bill Cabrall reworked the electrical connections, and Curtis Rist built a new set of stairs to the elevated club. Curtis, Bill and Norm Jarvis built a raised platform to provide access to the front of the newly elevated club.
By early may, as the Hornblower Regatta approached, 11 Lightning’s graced the dry storage yard at Cherry Creek Marina. The clubhouse work wrapped up, and a great weekend of sailing was had by all. Saturday featured brisk breeze over chilly water, then a high pressure system moved in with calmer air on Sunday.
Fleet 488 comes off the line at the Hornblower Regatta
The Race Committee, sent the fleet off on 7 races over the two days. Cameron Holland, Jim England, and Bill Cabrall engaged in a massive battle for points, and when the dust settled, Cameron was on top and Bill and Jim were tied. Jim took the tie-breaker for second, and Bill settled for third.
In June, The Lightning Fleet hosted DSA’s traditional Thursday night post race burger nights. Raeyane Farrell organized the month of grilling, stocking the frig and making sure that all of the supplies and condiments were fresh and on hand.
Bill Cabrall celebrated his 62nd birthday on the 9 June burger event, stating that he couldn’t think of a better place to be on such a day than surrounded by Lightning sailors.
As June eased into July, Thursday night racing at Cherry Creek became the go-to place for Lightning sailing, with a summer full of delightful evenings. Bill Cabrall and Steve Davis fought for the lead in the Spring Series, with Steve prevailing. David Thompson surged into third in a very strong showing, followed by Jim England and the rest of the fleet.
In early July the marina hoist broke for several weeks, worn out by a steady stream of Lightning launch and retrievals, no doubt. While it was being repaired, the fleet discovered that the slope of the beach near the Lake House was gentle enough, and hard packed enough, to ramp launch the boats by either car or (with 3 or 4 people willing to wade in) by hand.
What to do when the hoist is broken
The Aspen Open, held the weekend of July 16-17, drew four Lightning’s this year, with Greg Cox and Jacob Vargish fighting it out for first. The venue provided what is becoming signature conditions (microburst gusts up to 42 knots) on Saturday. At the end of the weekend they were tied, with the tie-breaker going to Greg. Adam Hostetter was third, and Jonathan Cox came fourth.
At this event ,Team Dandy Lion continued what is becoming a long and storied tradition by capsizing in race two (third year in a row!). Accounts vary, but most include a crash tack, a broken hiking strap, and a death grip on the tiller extension.
The WJMs and North Americans were held in August at Rochester Yacht Club in upstate, NY. Our Fleet will be represented by Team Davis (Steve,Jeff and Amy Linton) Team Cabrall (Bill Cabrall, Raeyane Farrell, Norm Jarvis), and Jim and Lori England sailing with Bill Mauk, The event organization, operations, and hospitality were fantastic, and it was delightful to come to a club that truly wanted us to be there. Weather wise, the 10 days included everything from light to non-existent air to upper teens and 20’s to thunder, lightning, and gale force winds.
At the annual meeting, Bill Cabrall was elected Chief Measurer of the Class.
The Colorado Governors Cup, the premier regatta in our state, was held the weekend of September 10-11, with beautiful blue skies, good air on Saturday, and a dead flat calm on Sunday, which is almost a tradition at this event. The fleet, which has gotten increasingly competitive all summer, was out in force and sailing hard. The Race Committee gave us 6 races on Saturday, a smart move given Sunday’s lack of wind. When the dust settled Bill Cabrall narrowly beat out Steve Davis (5 points to 6 points over 6 races after a throwout!), while the middle of the fleet engaged in a tight (too tight at times!) battle for the remaining spots. Adam Hostetter finished third, with Jacob Vargish, Ralph Stevenson, and David Thompson coming fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively.
Downwind Lightning Action at the 2016 Colorado Governors Cup
In race 4, unfortunately, Ralph Stevenson ducked Steve Davis in the final seconds of the pre-start only to discover that Team Lion had just filled the hole he was headed for. In the ensuing collision, both boats were holed, and Ralph was forced to retire. While this was a less than perfect situation. Ralph’s response demonstrated the best traditions of the Lightning Class. He voluntarily withdrew form the race (and, unfortunately, the regatta) without a protest, made sure no one was hurt (no one was),committed to pay for repairing both boats, and then volunteered to serve on a crash boat the next day. For his Post-collision behavior, Ralph was awarded the DSA Perpetual Trophy for Sportsmanship at the annual banquet in November.
Meanwhile, Bill Cabrall (serving as the protest committee for this event) spent several hours dealing with contentious altercations in other fleets that could clearly use more true Corinthians like Ralph. Our fleet is lucky to have him.
Then, suddenly and without warning, tragedy struck. David Thompson, Commodore of the Denver Sailing Association, member of Lightning Fleet 488, and beloved alumni of Lightning Fleet 50, passed away on September 22, 2016 from complications due to blood clots in his lungs.
David Thompson – The Greatest Sailing Club Commodore that ever lived
I have many times referred to David as “The Greatest Sailing Club Commodore in the World” for his unwavering dedication to our club, fleet, and the Lightning Class. During his two year term as Commodore of the Denver Sailing Association (2015-16) he was relentless in overcoming a variety of challenges including a flood, new marina ownership, and evolving use of our sailing facilities and area. No matter what happened, he never gave up, never gave in, and never quit working for our club. He is sorely missed.
Virtually the entire fleet, and most of the Denver Sailing Association, was represented at his memorial service.
As our club and fleet struggled to adapt to David’s passing, a new perpetual trophy, the Thompson Award, was commissioned and will be awarded annually for dedication and service to the Denver Sailing Association in the hopes it inspires a new generation of sailors to continue David’s efforts to grow and expand our sailing club.
As the fall Frostbite Series kicked off in the wake of David’s memorial, Fleet 488 realized that there was one more thing we could do for our beloved friend and Commodore. Reviewing David’s life, and our club by-laws, we noticed two things. First, although a passionate sailor and competitor, David was, unfortunately, very strongly anchored in the middle of the fleet. While everyone remembered his service and dedication to our fleets, club, class, and way of life, no one in the Lightning class could recall his ever winning an event.
Second, At DSA, the annual dues cover entry fees for an entire season, which meant that David, and Team Thompson, was still entered in our races. David might be gone, but he was a long way from forgotten! Throughout a glorious fall sailing season, starting with his immediate family and rotating through some of the best sailors in our fleet, ‘Blue Two’, David’s beloved Lightning and official boat of Team Thompson, hit the starting line for all 7 races of the 2016 Frostbite Series, going undefeated for the entire series. While there were a few DNF’s throughout the fleet, there were fewer than you might think. Each week the members of Team Thompson were proud to sail the boat, and acquitted themselves very well.
While David Thompson has moved on to a better existence, he left this one a winner, in all of the ways that matter, including race results.
The active sailing season closed on October 29 at Cherry Creek, with a beautiful fall afternoon providing some delightful light to moderate air racing for the DSA Pumpkin Bash. Afterwards, as masts came down across the dry storage yard, DSA hosted a delightful end of season Bar-B-Q.
As boats go into storage, I know of several changes in the boat lineup of our fleet.
Michael Lynn arrived in Denver mid summer with # 11543, and three boats are available to new/interested Lightning sailors. In order of sail numbers, they are:
TBD – owned by Fred Denny
13858 – 1983 Nickels Lightning, owned Steve Heyn
15004 – 2000 Nickels, belonging to Jim England
And finally, some parting thoughts. Next year I am focusing on my new job in the Lightning Class, as ILCA Chief Measurer, instead of being predominately a local fleet booster. When I started working with Fleet 488 in 1995, there were only 2 or three active boats, and it was difficult to fleet out at events. A generation later 11boats are lined up in a row at Cherry Creek, and Fleet 488 is a dominant presence both at our lake and in the Colorado sailing community. The fleet has been built boat by boat through a strategy of basing the fleet at one lake and working hard to add one active boat per year.
Continued growth, however, will hinge upon the needs of a new, younger generation of sailors, and close coordination with DSA and Community Sailing. I am looking forward to cheering for the success of our 2017 Fleet Captain and Secretary, Lucas Armstrong and Adam Hostetter.
2016 Fleet 488 Fleet Captain
- Lightning Fleet 488 News – March 29, 2016It’s time to go sailing! Do you know where your boat is? Have you found your foul weather gear (you did wash it last fall, right?). Cherry Creek Marina will be ready for your boat starting Friday, April 1st.On Saturday, April 2nd the DSA sailing season begins! The day will commence with a work party at 9 am, to open the clubhouse and put the marks in. Racing will start at 1 pm, and the afternoon will finish with a social get together.Your humble (Ha!) fleet Captain will be PRO for the day’s racing and I have plans for a great day. Ever wonder how they race Lightning’s at the Kilsilano YC in Vancouver, British Columbia? All I’ll need will be the RC boat and 2 temporary marks to give you a fantastic afternoon. Don’t believe it – come and sail!At the moment, the weather forecast for Saturday calls for temperatures in the low 60’s, mostly clear skies, and 5-7 knots of wind from the Southeast. Perfect! Water temperatures will be in the low 40’s.This is also an excellent time to formally join the Denver Sailing Association, SAIL, and the international Lightning Class. Membership forms were distributed at the Lightning Fleet Party, and are also available online. Your active membership makes sailing possible here in Colorado, so join now!In this regard, note that the DSA by-laws state that dues increase by $20 after March 31st, so now is the best time of the year to join! Don’t delay – go online and join now to save money. Sailing and savings – what could be better!Raeyane tells me that “Cost is only an issue in the absence of value”, so let’s take a quick look at that relationship. Your DSA and ILCA dues are one of the best values in sailing, and perhaps any organized sport. In return for less money than you’d spend at Starbucks in a month (a latte a day at $7.50/cup for 20 working days in a month is $150) , you get membership in a great sailing club, a year’s worth of racing (your DSA dues include frostbite, spring, and summer series entry fees), a clubhouse perfectly designed for chilling drinks and grilling burgers, the organizational talents of David Thompson, Lightning sailor and the world’s greatest sailing club commodore, not to mention a large cadre of other dedicated volunteers.On the national level, the ILCA manages and administers the Lightning class, making it possible for the best small boat in human history to thrive so you can sail it. In addition to keeping the value of your boat up, the class also sponsors programs like the Lightning lab, the Boat Grant program, fantastic sailing on a global level, and other progressive activities that keep it at the forefront of 21st century sailing.To be specific – For an active Lightning skipper, DSA dues ($85) and ILCA membership ($55) total $140 per year. For that you get 75 club level races (less than $2 per race), a year of fellowship with the likes of David Thompson, Jan Davis, Team Dandy Lion (worth the full price alone!), Laura Jeffers, Debbie Probst, Ian Edwards and the rest of the Lightning ‘Tribe’, in addition to support for woody, classic, and modern Lightning’s, and the opportunity to sail on a national and international level.Crew memberships are even less, $35 for DSA and $10 for the ILCA, a total of only $45 (60 cents per race!).I am so sure that this is a fantastic deal, that I will offer you the following challenge – I dare you, any and all of you (and almost 100 people get this newsletter) to name any other single organized sporting activity that offers better competition with finer people for less money per year than membership in DSA and the ILCA (combined). Show me wrong, and I will not only publish the data, but form a committee to rectify the situation. It can’t be done.Now back to sailing! Fleet 488 members had a fantastic time at the 2016 Southern Circuit, getting in a full week of sailing days in Miami and Saint Petersburg. Steve and Jan Davis, Jim and Lori England, Norm Jarvis, Raeyane Farrell, and Bill Cabrall were there. Fleet 488 did quite well at the circuit with Team Davis finishing 7th, the England’s 9th, and Team Cabrall a 22nd overall out of the 27 boats that sailed the entire circuit. On an individual race basis, Team Davis had several 4th places, The England’s were as high as 6th several times, and Team Cabrall pulled a pair of 17’s out of a fleet that had as many as 46 boats.
On the way back, Bill Cabrall and Norm Jarvis stopped in New Orleans to pick up a wooden mast for Tom Doroff, and brought it back to Colorado, arriving from the south 3 hours before a spring blizzard swept in from the north. Ah, Springtime in the Rockies!
We’ll see you Saturday!
Fleet 488 Fleet Captain
Lightning Fleet 488 News – February 2016
Lightning Fleet 488 held its annual party/business meeting on January 30 at the home of Raeyane Farrell and Bill Cabrall in Highlands Ranch. 27 people attended, and all but 2 of the active boats in the fleet were represented. This party is held as a potluck each year, and features not only the best sailors in Colorado, but some of the best cooking, microbrew beer, and privately made wine in the state. Raeyane and Bill were able to transform their living/dining room space into a single room and provide seating for 30 (with generous loans of tables and chairs from several fleet members). A grand time was had by all.
New for the party this year was a Fleet ‘Gear Locker’ with Lightning related merchandise, Old versions of Lightning yearbooks, and nautical related books and material. By the end of the evening people had updated their yearbook collection, purchased sails, Loos gages, masthead and boomvang fittings. This may become a standard part of our Fleet gatherings.
Fleet 488 End-of-Season Banquet January 30, 2016
Twenty one Fleet members and guests met at the home of Bill and Raeyane Cabrall on Saturday, January 30, for a delightful evening of socialization, dinner, and a brief fleet meeting. At the meeting we nominated and elected the following slate of officers for a second year term:
- Fleet Captain: Bill Cabrall
- Fleet Secretary; Jan Davis
- Fleet Treasurer: Bill Cabrall
- Scorekeeper: Bill Cabrall
- Webmaster: David Thompson
Officers will serve their 2016 term and then will be retired in 2017.
- 2015 Fleet Report
Read the 2015 Fleet Report here.