Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lightning - Design 265

Here is the venerable Lightning. The Lightning was designed in 1938. She's a hard chined centerboarder capable of planing. From her humble beginnings the boat has evolved in to a fairly technical racing boat. Over 15,000 boats have been built to this design.

It is rumored that the rights to this design were sold to the Lightning Class Association in 1939, and that Olin Stephens often stated he regretted it. The story is in fact true, the plans were sold to the Association on September 1, 1939 for $200. I have heard him explain away the situation by saying he never really thought the design would take off. I do think the gesture paid off in the long run however: many sailors started sailing in Lightnings and eventually moved into larger S&S boats so I think Olin ultimately did realize value from the transaction.

Here are the plans.

And here's a vintage brochure from Skaneateles Boats.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 19'-0"
LWL 16'-0"
Beam 6'-6"
Draft 4'-11"
Displacement 700 lbs
Sail Area 177 sq ft


  1. True perfection. Along with the Laser and the Penguin, one of the finest boats ever designed, in my opinion.


  2. Aloud me to share Paul´s commnet.
    I have had the pleasure to sail this beautiful boat on the Titicaca Lake in Bolivia, at 3.810 mts over sea level, with wind conditions comparable to the "Ostsee" in northern Europe and ha e had a lot of fun.
    I have one "vintage" picture of a 5 lightnings regata in the lake in the late 50´s and wuold like to know if somebody want a free copy

    1. Hi I just got a lightning, and have been to Titicaca. I would love to see that picture!

  3. Hi. I would be interested and really appreciate copies if possible. I can send you my email. Thank you and hope to hear back.

  4. ar there still plans from this boat.
    i like to have som plans from this boat