Lightning #1, built by the Skaneateles Boats Company, was launched on Skaneateles Lake in 1938. The Skaneateles Country Club was granted the charter for Lightning Fleet #1, and in 1939 John Barnes of the Skaneateles Boats Company became the first national Lightning champion. Today, the Lightning has evolved into one of the most popular and competitive one-design racing classes in the world, with more than 500 fleets worldwide and some 15,000 boats. Lightning #1 has been retired to the Mystic (Conn.) Seaport Museum.
The Lightning, which sports a “bolt of lightning” insignia toward the top of its mainsail, has been piloted by some of the world’s best sailors, including America’s Cup defenders Ted Turner and Dennis Connor.
The 70th Anniversary program gets under way Friday, with Lightning Labs and a cookout for Regatta participants. Three races are scheduled for Saturday, and two for Sunday, with additional events for participants held throughout the weekend. For more information, go to http://www.lightning70th.com.