Thursday Women + SSS = Luffing Lassies

David Hays

David Hays

My visit with Lorri Kaighin was unique in terms of the title above.

Lorri, wife of Michael Kaighan, articulate, attractive and committed to her cause, related how her mother-in-law Lilly became the driving force of a group called the "Thursday Women" at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. She organized them into a special identity known today as the Luffing Lassies.

Lilly, of Swedish and German background, had an absolutely delightful style personified by her earlier description of their challenge. So, if you don’t mind ruining your hair or breaking a fingernail, sitting in a puddle of water, getting hit on the head with the boon or getting a few bruises now and then, this is the group for you.

There were five in that charter group which celebrated its 40th year and has its own annual regatta every November. For those of us not that knowledgeable of Sarasota, there was an official “Lilly Kaighin Day” declared in November of 1987 acknowledging her service to the community. No other woman (that I know of) in Florida is so recognized.

Mike, Lorri’s husband grew up in Sarasota and sailed a Thistle designed sailboat built by Douglas-McLeod. It was #3528 that brought Lorri and he together at Riverview High School.  The two attended the University of Florida and later began sailing prams and lasers in the Youth Sailing Program at SSS. The Kaighan’s daughter Lindsay, is also an outstanding sailor in the program.

The head instructor at that time was none other than our current Squadron Manager, Craig Bridges.

Lorri refers to her group as “The Gem of Sarasota”, open to all Ladies in Sarasota and nearby counties. Its program of developing new sailors, young and old, is the epitomy of its work.

She has been one of the core instructors for over ten years and her pride in it comes through as striking part of my time with her.

The Luffing Lassie organization is an outstanding member of the ten in the Florida Women's Sailing Association.


Thursday Women + SSS = Luffing Lassies — 3 Comments

  1. Hi:
    Recently we were at SSS for a regatta and talked with some women from the Luffing Lassies. We have been trying to start a women’s sailing program in the Naples/Marco Island area and finally we are just finishing our first sailing class with 6 women. It is getting exciting to help start this program and after the lessons, what are some of the weekly activities that you do? Is it always racing? Or do you do other things? I talked with Rachel, the photographer and Nana who started this conversation. If someone would get back to me, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks, Lois Dixon

    • Lois,

      I just saw your comment here. If you read this please contact me at I will be happy to share some info. You may be interested in getting your women sailing in the Florida Women’s Sailing Association (FWSA).

      Linda Schwartz

  2. There isn’t a better group of women around than the Luffing Lassies. We are very proud to have Lorri as a leading member of our group. She is a great lady, sailor, and sailing instructor!