Lightning class weakpoints??

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by jimi aloa, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Dan Newton
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Dan Newton Junior Member

    thanks messabout

    I am grateful for the suggestion. We're almost at the end of the short restoration, mostly the mast, which was wrung apart above the spreaders for about 18" on all sides. The old wood sure looks nice with the Le Tonkinois.

    I've never sailed a Lightning, but it looks pretty fast. Lots of gizmos for sail control. sa/d = 35?
    The guy who gave it to me said you can step the mast by yourself. I'm having a hard time visualizing this.
  2. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    If I can step the mast on my Laser 5000 by myself, you certainly can do it on a lightning. You have to attach a small strop to the base of the mast so it doesn't float around when you pick up the other end from the stern and walk it forward. Both the uppers are attached and you use the spinnaker halyard as a temporary forestay until you can use a trap line to hold the mast up. On the 5000 the forestay is in the jib.

    If you think through the process it isn't hard to figure out how to do this on just about anything.

    The 5000 has a large aluminum mast (quite a bit larger than a Lightning).

  3. Dan Newton
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    Location: Central PA

    Dan Newton Junior Member

    Stepping the Mast

    OK Bill, I can follow that. The Lightning has a step at the end of the centerboard case below the hounds, so it should stand once it's upright and stepped. Does the Laser 5000 have a similar arrangement, or is the mast unsupported by a deck? What do you mean by a 'trap line'?

  4. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    The 5000 is a twin trapeze boat that does not have a permanent forestay - when the jib comes down the rig would fall - so we just use one of the trapeze lines to act as a temporary forestay when we pull down the jib. This is a pretty common practice in very high performance boats like International 14s. Basically to avoid the weight of a forestay, they skip it because the luff wire of the jib becomes the forestay when it's up. Some Tuff-luff jibs work the same with the halyard wire becoming the forestay inside the luff tube of the jib.

    Since a Lightning has a permanent forestay you would not need to do this kind of goofyness to save a few grams.

    The 5000 mast is stepped on the cockpit sole - there are no mast partners because there are lower stays and upper stays. Mast bend control is very good.

    I hope the general concept of being able to rig and step a mast becomes a little more do-able - you just have to figure out a system for doing it alone. The mast weight isn't the issue, its the awkwardness of it that makes having an extra set of hands nice. Once you figure out a system for doing it alone it is pretty easy. I bet if you ask around your local dinghy park in the spring, someone will show you how they do it. Unfortunately you will also encounter keelboat-type folks who will insist on using cranes and several people (all requiring beer purchase) to do the same job.

  5. Steam Flyer
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    Steam Flyer Junior Member

    Lightnings are not really fast by modern standards, but they do perform nicely... they will plane readily and they do upwind very sharply.

    I used to step the mast on my old Lightning by myself, here is the method:

    Start with the boat on trailer, well supported. Mast on crutches fore & aft. Stand on the foredeck

    Grab the mast with both hands about 2' apart & with the balance point of the mast between your hands.

    Lift the mast, swing the foot of the mast over the gunwhale

    As the foot of the mast goes towards the ground, lift the middle part of the mast up... I had to hold it approx shoulder height... you should be able to get the mast almost vertical by the time the foot is touching the ground.

    Rest the mast foot on the ground right next to the boat, get it the rest of the way vertical.

    Shift grip on mast downward, maintaining balance.

    Lift mast vertically up, rest foot on foredeck next to partners (the hole in the deck where the mast goes in & down to the step)... be sure to keep mast vertical, if it begins to tilt it will rapidly exceed the amount of leverage you can exert (ie will crash down, probably onto your car)

    Carefully lower mast vertically thru partners and into step.

    Take a deep breath, and begin attaching the standing rigging.

    FWIW I have a good sense of balance and am fit but not particularly muscular. I also learned to prepare the rigging carefully so nothing tangled during this process... and no, I never dropped it!

    FB- Doug
  6. Dan Newton
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    Location: Central PA

    Dan Newton Junior Member

    Lightning Strikes again

    Thanks, Doug, for the detailed description of raising your mast. I used to put the stick on my O'Day 20 using a similar move. There's always that moment of truth where you get more weight aloft than you can control, but I never dropped that one either.
    There's a new wrinkle in this project: the boat came to me missing some turnbuckles, and these are the 5 mm Right hand thread x 100 mm long closed-body type. Where can I get these, short of Great Britian?

  7. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Profile Dwg in scale

    Does anyone know where I can find a good profile dwg of the scale as near as possible??
  8. Dan Newton
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Location: Central PA

    Dan Newton Junior Member

    Lightning Profile

    Brian, as far as I know, the only place to get drawings is either the Sparkman and Stephens website and the Lightning Class Association. Fear not: a complete set is only $20, I think. I do remember something about assigning a boat number along with that, though...
  9. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Looking for Older Boat for Proto Testing

    I found the sketches I least enough for now.

    Now I'm looking about for an old used boat that I might make some 'full size' test on with my aft-mast concept. I believe the Lightning class vessel will fit right in with my mast aft placement just behind that stock CB trunk on a newly fabricated atwartships bulkhead. Even though its not appropriate for a ketch's mizzen on such a small vessel, I believe I can even include that element.

    Origination & Justification

    ...then lets have at it in some racing with a stock boat
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  10. sonosail
    Joined: Mar 2008
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    Location: CT USA

    sonosail SONOSAIL

    step Lightning mast single handed

    Don't mean to contradict these intructions which I found to be very good.
    As a person who probably performed this procedure more than 50 times, I felt I just HAD to add my own variation to the above. Sorry. Just think: Anyone who is looking for intructions as to how to step a Lightning mast by himself, now has 2 methods to choose from!

    1. Mast on ground next to boat. Butt appoximately in line with mast step and wedged up against a sizable cement block or other heavy object.
    All shrounds and halyards tied and gathered at a point about 6' from butt of mast.

    2. Starting about 6' from the top, walk the mast to a verticle position facilited by maintaining pressure aginst the butt in it's position against the the heavy object. Once the mast is verticle, you chould be able to move the butt, and the whole mast so that it is as close as possible to the side of the boat and in line with the mast partners.

    3.(This is the part that requires a slight amount of agility. It also helps if you are tall).
    Simultaneously, with the mast being held in it's upright position, and in line with the mast parters, (opening in the deck), and with mast blocks within easy reach, hop up on to the foredeck while maintaining the mast's verticle position.
    Take a new breath and raise the mast to point where it clears the deck, walk it over to the parters, and lower it into the mast step. Grab some mast blocks and place them behind the mast at the partners to stabilize until you can fasten the forstay.
  11. BobBill
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Minnesotan wakes up daily, in SE MN, a good start,

    BobBill Senior Member


    Boat needs to be tuned well - old Sports Illustrated tune guide around here somewhere, if I can locate it, as good reference. Should be plenty hints on their site or here:

    Not so easy to right after dump, but then, it is not easy to dump. Old, class act, no pun intended...keep it as designed, you will reap many hours of wonderful sailing.

    BTW, somewhere there is a device, could be DIY set up for raising and lowering masts on Thistles or Scotts, maybe, and if legal, might be good to locate and duplicate...

    Class dinghy...used to be quite a number of them sailing off Chicagoland's lakefront.

  12. Paul J. Nolan
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: Seattle

    Paul J. Nolan Junior Member

    It's been a long time since this discussion, but I, too, stepped the spar solo if it wasn't windy (ah, youth!) First make sure you're well away from any power lines just in case you do drop it. I too walked it up and then got onto the foredeck and lifted it straight up vertically, rested the butt on the deck, then again lifted it straight up and over, easing the butt through the partners and onto the step. The only difference was that I placed the butt against the bottom of the trailer tire to stabilize it as I walked it up. Saves having to find an additional piece of equipment.

    Paul J. Nolan
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