"So this year the Lightning fleet has reached 65 years of successful racing in Strangford Lough. From the humble beginnings of Gwen 1 with her cotton sails, to the successful dry launched racing machines of today, the Lightning fleet has watched so many other classes come and go.
There could be many reasons given for their resilience, however one, more than any other stands out to the independent observer! They represent now, as they always have, a shining example of camaraderie as a fleet. Techniques and technologies are shared, tuning is often a group event and if ever a breakage happens someone in the fleet will be heard to say, "I have one of those in the garage"!
For a Lightning sailor, the most important thing is to have people to race against! No one is left to bring up their boat alone, and after racing the fleet socialize together to discuss what could have been. The Lightnings are not so much a fleet as a family – perhaps this, more than anything else, is why they have endured!
Hopefully, as has happened before, the junior sailors of today will become the Lightning sailors of tomorrow and with a little luck, and some determination, the fleet will reach their 100
th anniversary in 2044"