1987, 14 years old, I get a call asking if I could crew on a Lightning for a race at Metedeconk River YC. Having nothing better to do, I agreed. Little did I know that I would be meeting one of the greatest sailing mentors of all time in Jim Carson, while being introduced to one of the most iconic dinghies ever designed. With Carson, I was soon crewing on the Lightning circuit, going from Milwaukee to Toronto, New Orleans to Finland, and everywhere in between.
Fast forward 30 years, I have moved to Connecticut, own Lightning 14719, and was elected the Secretary of the Lightning Class. When asked what Lightning sailing means to me, I think of the love of the water, the fierce competition, the epic races at the North Americans and the Worlds, some outrageous parties, and most importantly, lifelong friends. The class continues to be my competitive outlet, the place my mind can tinker, and the provider of most of my associates.
As part of the Executive Committee, I hope to bring these experiences to the next generation of Lightning sailors. Through interaction, on the racecourse, at the regatta party, and online, I plan to focus on the issues that will encourage people to sail Lightnings, with the goal of having more top level racing with both old and new friends.
Bill Bogardus is on the Board of Governors at Cedar Point Yacht Club, in Westport, CT - home to Fleet 126.