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Richard Hallagan - Lightning Class Life Member
By Laura Jeffers
Posted on 6/2/2019 8:09 AM

Last summer at the Masters North American Championship at the Pontiac Yacht Club in Michigan, DickHallagan was awarded with a Lightning Class Life Membership. He was recognized for a lifetime of sailing and dedication to the Lightning Class. He has been a mentor to many and worked behind the scenes helping to create the World Masters Program. He was an organizer of 1990  NA’s in Rochester. He couldn’t control the weather, as he controls most within his orbit....Fog every day.


Dick Hallagan was given his first Lightning as a wedding present in 1958. It was Hull 5390 made from a kit by Dick Doherty of Rochester . The next year he bought a new wood boat from Emmons Boats, number 7087.


He started sailing at Sodus Bay in New York. The following year he took a metal welding night school class and made his own trailer to haul his Lightning to regattas. And so the journey began. For the next fifty years, Dick, with his crews and family would travel to more than 20 regattas every year across the country, South America, and Europe.


He would tow the boat and home-made trailer with a cargo van, decked out with bunk beds. Many a season the van would travel 30,000 miles. As the Hallagan family grew to three kids, he threw a large tent into the van for camping out at the yacht club. The tent was called Urban Renewal and Dick slept on a cot with his brood nestled around him on the hard ground.  In 1983-84, Dick sailed in 22 regattas and was in first place in all 22.  Dick feels that participating was a way of supporting the class.


Scores of young people crewed for Dick, not always an easy task, who then went on to become Lightning sailors themselves: Mike Healy, Bob Bush, Doug Munn, Jed Dodge, Lori Foster, Rick TenEyck, Jean, Dave and Pete Hallagan, Craig Thayer, and Clay Murphy to name a few.


Early favorite regattas include Quantico, Red Bank, the Canadian Open, the Borderline and Niagara Frontier. He sailed in the first Nashville Bluenose Regatta and then sailed at the 50th, which was their last regatta. Another 50th Anniversary was at Cazenovia in 2018, which he won, having won their second regatta in 1969.   At Quantico 100 boats would sail and a general would give the awards. The original trip to VA took two days to drive 400 miles before the Interstates were built.


Dick wishes to remember the old sailors who mentored him like:  Bill Cox, Lou Puchrski, Karl Smither, Carl Eichenlaub, Stuart Anderson.


After he completed his six year army commitment in 1964, Dick started competing in the North Americans and qualified for the Worlds. He has sailed in 22 World Competitions and is heading to Finland this week for his 23rd Worlds at the age of 85. Finland will be extra special as his grandson, and son will also be sailing in the regatta.

Dick is now sailing boat #15555, a long way from 5390, with nine boats in between. 
Needless to say sailing has been his advocation and passion, which is now slowly, quietly being replaced by Duplicate Bridge and water-color painting...of course of boats.

Richard Hallagan’s World Competitions

A lifetime of adventure, thanks to the Lightning Class:

1969 Buenos Aires, Argentina 
1973 Buffalo Canoe Club
1975 Salinas, Ecuador 
1977 Spiez, Switzerland 
1981 Pucon, Chile 
1983 Ischia, Italy
1985 Little Egg Harbor, NJ
1987 Cartagena, Columbia 
1989 Athens, Greece
1993 Ilhabela, Brazil 
1995 Cuopio, Finland
1997 Montreal, Canada 
1999 Salinas, Ecuador 
2001 Marsala, Sicily
2003 Miami, FL
2005 Con Con, Chile 
2007 Athens, Greece 
2009 Malletts Bay, VT
2011 Buzio, Brazil 
2013 Castiglione, Italy
2015 Buffalo Canoe Club
2017 Salinas, Ecuador 
2019 Espoo, Finland! 

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