Rocky Mountain Lightning Fleet # 488

Last updated 03/29/2016


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

Bill Cabrall Fleet 488 Fleet Captain
and see recent Fleet 488 Newsletters.


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.

— Upcoming Events —

— News –

  • 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!

    Bill Cabrall

    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.

2014 Fleet 488 News