Complimenti to Team Coplan and The Walrus First Runner-Up at the Lightning 2013 World Championships Castiglione del Lago, Italy

  • Posted on: 15 June 2013
  • By: Eric Kent

Nyack Boat Club’s Justin Coplan, with team Danielle Prior and Mike Carney, are First Runners-Up at the Lightning World Championships held June 7-14th at Club Velico Castiglionese, Castiglione del Lago, Italy.

Competing with 46 boats from 10 countries, Justin was able to beat several multiple-times past World Champions. David Starck, who won his first North American Championship in 2010, finished first. Starck has been runner up at the Worlds, but this is his first title. Four-time North American Champion, European Open Champion and International Master Champion, Ched Proctor of North Sails finished third. Five-time Lightning World Champion Tito Gonzalez was fourth. Justin’s finishes included a bullet, a second and three other top ten finishes.

Full regatta results are here:

Play by play reports are here:

Justin is an alumnus of NBC’s Junior Sailing Program, starting as an Opti sailor at age 8 and participating in the Opti racing program at NBC. The NBC Junior Sailing Program consists of two four-week summer sessions for 8-15 year olds. The program is open to the public (see

NBC continues its support of Junior sailors hosting the Women’s, Juniors’ & Masters’ Lightning North American Championships August 14-18. The event is the U.S. qualifier for the 2014 Junior Worlds to be held at the Buffalo Canoe Club, Ontario, Canada see http://2013-wjmna.

Justin became a very competitive Laser sailor while in high school. During his high school and college years, Justin crewed for Gary Hurban (the 2012 Lightning Master’s Champion) on his Lightning. Heading off to RIT for college, Justin helped start the RIT sailing team. Improving his racing skills tremendously during university, he quickly became the star of the sailing team and, ultimately, was selected team captain.

Justin moved on to skippering Lightnings in 2008, when he was one of the first recipients of the Lightning Class Boat Grant program. The Boat Grant program provides promising young adult sailors with a competitive boat for one year in order to bring young sailors into the class. Justin enlisted fellow NBC junior sailing graduates, Ellie Turk and Fiona Gordon, to crew for him, winning the Lightning Metropolitan District Championships and finishing in 2nd place in the Lightning North American Presidents Cup that year.

As all sailors know, it takes good crew to win an event. Enter Mike Carney. Like Justin, Mike previously crewed for Gary Hurban. In 2008 Mike purchased a 1985 wet-sailed Nickels Lightning, hull number 14036. Mike painstakingly removed many coats of bottom paint and restored it to racing condition. Mike crewed for Justin beginning in 2009 and, together, they named the boat “The Walrus”.

When Justin noticed a cute girl named Danielle Prior flying the spinnaker on a competitor’s boat and going faster than them downwind, Mike and Justin signed her up as their third, middle crew, and the rest is history.

Danielle, who grew up in Pennsylvania, was no stranger to the water having sailed on Lasers and Lightnings with her father and others. Danielle is now attending Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

Justin recently purchased “The Walrus” from Mike; he put a new mast on her before shipping her off to Italy to sail fast at the Worlds. Bravissimo to the trio!

Highlights of Justin's phenomenal sailing career in Lightnings include:

  • Recipient of the Lightning Class Boat Grant program in 2008
  • 5 consecutive wins at the Metropolitan Districts 2008-2012
  • 2nd place 2008 NA's President's Cup
  • Winner 2009 North American Championship President's Cup
  • 15th place in the 2009 Lightning World Championships
  • 2nd place 2010 Canadian Championship
  • Winner 2011 NJ State Championship
  • Winner 2011 Down Bay Regatta
  • 2nd place 2011 CPYC Fall Classic
  • 2nd place 2011 Doc Gilbert 27th Annual Potomac Cup
  • 3rd place 2011 Long John 50th Anniversary Regatta
  • Winner 2012 Atlantic Coast Championships (with straight bullets, in a fleet of 44 boats)
  • Crewed for Gary and Joan Hurban as they won the 2012 Master's
  • 7th place in the 2012 North American Championships, and now...
  • 2nd place in the  2013 Lightning World Championships

So, complimenti, felicitations, onneksi olkoon, συγχαρητήρια, congratulations to Danielle Prior, Mike Carney and skipper, Justin Coplan, with old faithful “The Walrus” on their tremendous result at the World Championships!