International Lightning Class Association By-Laws

  1. The annual meeting of each Fleet shall be held not later than December 1 of each year, and results of election of Fleet Offices shall be filed with the Association.
  2. The official language between Fleets and the Association shall be English.
  1. For Fleets – Thirty dollars ($30.00) annual dues to the ILCA. Dues to be paid directly to the Association or collected by the District and forwarded to the ILCA. Fleet dues are payable annually based on the calendar year.
  2. For Active Members – Fifty-five dollars ($55.00) annual dues to the ILCA.
  3. For Associate Members – Thirty dollars ($30.00) annual dues to the ILCA.
  4. For Crew Members – Ten dollars ($10.00) annual dues to the ILCA.
  5. Personal membership dues are payable annually and are good fro 11 months after the month submitted. Members dues shall be paid directly to the ILCA or collected by the Fleet and forwarded to the ILCA.
  6. All money paid to ILCA as dues in excess of the regular dues for Active Members, Associate Members, and Crew Members shall be charitable contributions to the ILCA.
  • $20 in excess will qualify for Contributing Membership
  • $50 in excess will qualify for Supporting Membership
  • $100 in excess will qualify for Donor Membership
  • $500 or more in excess will qualify for Benefactor Membership
  1. Each Fleet is required to file an annual report with the Association and to pay its annual dues during January of each year in order to renew its rights and privileges under its charter.
  1. If the annual report of Fleet or annual dues and registrations of members has not been received by the Association on or before March 1st, they become automatically suspended. In the case of new Fleets the same applies upon demand.
  2. Suspended Fleets, members and ineligible sailboats may be posted by publication, and may be barred from all Lightning races. They cannot be reinstated until all requirements of the Association have been fulfilled.
    A boat is eligible and considered in the Lightning Class only if it conforms to measurement rules as certified by a Class Measurement Certification, has been properly registered, and is owned by a qualified active member recorded at the time as in good standing with the Association.
  1. Official number allotted to new sailboats on application to the Executive Secretary shall be permanent, and affixed to sail and cut into side of centerboard trunk, with letters at least two (2) inches in height. Name is optional but must be recorded and approved.
  2. If alterations are made, and affect more than one-half of the hull, or sufficiently extensive to so warrant, in the opinion of the Measurement Committee, a new number shall be awarded and boat be considered new as of such date. Such altered boat shall be remeasured and subject to the restrictions and governing measurements as then in force and registration must be obtained in the usual manner.
  3. If a boat is so damaged or destroyed that over one-half of the hull must be replaced then its original number shall be retired and a new up-to-date number issued in its place. A number once retired can never be issued again.
  1. No sailboat shall be eligible to enter any sanctioned race for the Lightning Class until Measurement Certificate has been granted for such sailboat.
  2. Qualified Certified Measurers will be appointed by the Measurement Committee. Their authority is restricted to actual measuring and filing a report of same. No Certified Measurer shall measure his own boat except under supervision of a disinterested person appointed by the Measurement Committee.
  3. The Association's Certificate shall be binding upon all organizations conducting races for the Lightning Class. A sailboat holding such Certificate shall not be subject to remeasurement unless reasonable grounds can be shown to suspect that the sailboat would not meet certain specifications of the Lightning Class. A sailboat is always subject to remeasurement by order of the Governing Board, Measurement Committee, or Executive Committee.
  4. Fleets shall be responsible for making provisions to govern use of sails in local races.
  5. BOAT MEASUREMENT – fee is a business arrangement between builder, owner, and measurer. ILCA is not responsible for failures to furnish approved certificates, lost measurement data, etc.
  1. The number of persons allowed in one boat in a race shall be three (3), no more or no less.
  2. All members of crews shall be ILCA members in good standing.
  3. No dead weight can be carried as stationary or shifting ballasts, except where the weight is fixed and used to bring the boat up to the minimum weight of 700 pounds as per the specifications.
  4. No sails other than approved jib, mainsail, and spinnaker can be used. Mainsail and spinnaker must carry the number of the sailboat. A different number may be used if properly obtained by the user, applied as required by the Specifications, and subject to requirements detailed in Notices of Race and Document Governing Sanctioned Regattas.
  6. a) Mandatory
    i)  A fluke-type anchor weighing not less than 1.8Kg (4lb) with a line not shorter than 15.24m(50ft).  The line shall be a minimum of 9.525mm (3/8 inches) in diameter and shall be made of Nylon or Dacron.  This line shall be used only for towing or anchoring.  Alternatives may be prescribed in the Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions.
    ii)  Compass
    iii) Bucket with a minimum capacity of one gallon
    iv) Throwable life preserver or cushion with an attached whistle
    v)  Paddle
    vi) Other lifesaving equipment as required by government regulations
    b) Optional
    i) Electronic Equipment – the following electronic devices are allowed aboard a Lightning:
    1)  Battery-powered wrist watches
    2)  An electronic digital compass with chronograph (timer and/or clock).
         The compass must be entirely self-contained with either an internal battery and/or solar
         power. The compass shall have no external connection and shall neither provide wind or
         boat speed nor compute correlations between time and distance.
    i3) Other hand-held navigational devices. Use while racing is not permitted except for
    4)  Hand-held communication devices (cell phones, pagers, radios, etc.) with the
         following restrictions:
    A)  For all sanctioned regattas, use is not permitted on the water except for emergencies.
         This restriction may be modified to allow communication from the Race Committee to
         competitors on a predetermined channel if approved by the ILCA Executive
         Committee and so stated in both the Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions.
    B)  For non-sanctioned regattas use is not permitted while racing except for emergencies.
         This restriction may be modified to allow communication from the Race Committee to
         competitors on a predetermined channel if so stated in both the Notice of Race and
         the Sailing Instructions.
    5) Personal medical devices, attached to an individual, required for a person’s well-being are
        allowed if they are medically necessary.
    6) In all cases where the use of electronic devices is not permitted, a competitor’s use shall
         require withdrawal from the race unless the Race Committee deems use was for emergency
  7. Skippers in sanctioned and non-sanctioned races and regattas, fleet series or other Lightning races must be members in good standing with ILCA as specified in Article VIII of the Constitution. Skippers who are not, shall not be credited with any points in said regattas, series or races.

In deciding any question the intended meaning of the rules shall be considered rather than any technical misconstruction that might be derived from the wording. Extenuating circumstances cannot be taken into consideration insofar as a racing rule is concerned, if there was an actual foul, but may be taken into consideration for class rules or restrictions if the wording requires interpretation and no deliberate attempt to gain an unfair advantage has been practiced. Precedent and the established policy of the Association shall be taken into consideration in interpreting any rule or regulation of obscure meaning or not covered at all. The rulings of the Executive Committee and Governing Board and Race Committee shall be carefully preserved for reference.


The enforcement of Class rules is essential to the protection of all owners in a one-design Class. For non-sanctioned racing, the regatta management may elect to vary from the class governing documents to promote sailing with the following restrictions:
a) Does not cause a competitor to be disadvantaged or advantaged in any way.
b) Does not change the fundamental design of the boat such as sails, hull, deck, mast or foils.
The Executive Committee can suspend membership for any individual or fleet that knowingly violates Article X.

  1. Sanctioned Lightning Class Championship Regattas are the World Championship; Youth World Championship; International Masters Championship; North American Championship; North American Masters', Juniors' and Women's Championships; South American Championship; European Championship; District Championships; and the Canadian Open Championship.
  2. Other events may be sanctioned by the Executive Committee if they are held solely for Lightning Class boats and are held strictly in accordance with Lightning Class Rules.
  3. The Executive Committee may outlaw any event for cause.

The Association shall not be liable for any debts contracted by its fleets or officers other than expenditure authorized by the budget or upon written order of the President and Secretary.


Vice Presidents representing individual countries or areas shall encourage and supervise promotion of the Lightning Class in their respective countries or areas. When the financial assistance of the ILCA is desired, a promotional plan shall be submitted to the Governing Board for review and approval. This plan shall outline the activities to be undertaken, responsible persons or organizations, period of time covered, anticipated results or benefits, and estimated costs, together with a statement of the funds to be provided by the country or area in question and the funds requested of the ILCA.

Updated December 2014