Sailor Thad Lettsome is scoring well on the college circuit

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Last month the Royal BVI Yacht Club, which also serves as the sailing National Federation, announced that Thad Lettsome had qualified the BVI for the Cali 2021 Junior PanAm Games in the one person dinghy event.

This month, as his training for the majors continues, the college series is also well underway. Hours on the water are key as he switches from the Laser to team racing in a two person dinghy. Highly technical, fast and furious, the college circuit is hotly contested and and a place to spot the super stars of the future.

The first event of the spring season was the Nelson Rolsch Invitational regatta with one day of fleet racing1 and one of team racing2. Representing Tulane University, Team Angry Wave, Lettsome’s team finished third in both events.

This past weekend the team travelled to the University of South Florida for another two days of competition. Racing with the three-boat Team Green Wave, Lettsome’s team won Saturday’s team racing event with 13 wins and 2 losses.

On to fleet racing on Sunday, where ten teams of two boats duked it out for the honours. In windy and choppy conditions A-Divison skipper Lettsome put in an impressive performance winning one race and coming second in another to post the third lowest score of the day and secure fourth for Team Angry Wave.

  1. Fleet Racing
    Each team races with one boat in the A-Division and one in the B-Division.

2. Team Racing
For the team race, two teams of three boats face off head-to-head. The lowest combined score wins.

Results are here.

Thad Lettsome qualifies for Cali 2021 Junior PanAm Games

Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome at the Lima 2019 PanAm Games. PHOTO: Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Thad Lettsome has qualified the BVI for the Cali 2021 Junior PanAm Games in the one person dinghy event. The Games are scheduled to take place from 8-19 September in Cali, Colombia.

With COVID restrictions making qualification regattas impossible, the organizers looked back at recent Youth World Championship results for sailors across the PanAm region and selected just five countries in the first round of qualifiers for the ILCA (Laser) class.  

The BVI is in prestigious company and with this qualification is joined by some of the world’s biggest sailing nations – Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada and the USA.

Lettsome raced at his first Youth World Championships in 2017 when he was just 15 and finished as the top ranked sailor from the Caribbean. At the following editions in 2018 and 2019 he continued to lead the way for the Caribbean sailors and was also ranked in the top five of all sailors from the PanAm region.

In 2019, Lettsome received an invitation to attend the PanAm Games in Lima, Peru where he finished in 19th place.  Now 19 years of age and a player on the senior racing circuit, he has his sights set on representing the BVI at the Olympic Games and joining an elite group of just seven other BVI sailors. 

The 2021 Junior PanAm Games are the first edition of a new quadrennial event.  The sailing events will take place on Lake Calima from 16-18 September.

Athlete’s across 27 sports and between the ages of 18 and 22 in the year of the event and gold medalists will receive automatic qualification to the Santiago 2023 PanAm Games.

BVI Sailor Thad Lettsome places 4th in U21 Laser Open at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series, Fort Lauderdale

BVI sailor, Thad Lettsome placed 4th in the U21 Laser Open at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series in Fort Lauderdale, 140 Laser sailors across three fleets took to the water from 15-18 January for the first major event of the year. Photo: RBVIYC

The BVI’s top Laser sailor, Thad Lettsome was back in action this past weekend at the West Marine US Open Sailing Series in Fort Lauderdale, 140 Laser sailors across three fleets took to the water from 15-18 January for the first major event of 2021. The first race of the year for Lettsome – who took on 41 other sailors from 12 nations from Canada to Chile – was set to be the stiffest competition that the western hemisphere has seen in over 14 months. With the Tokyo Olympics looming on the horizon this event was to be a test of skills for some of the region’s top athletes.

Four days of racing were scheduled and a total of 10 races but, with fickle and challenging conditions, the Race Committee were forced to call off racing on day one and send the sailors back ashore.

On day two, wind, sea state and current were very challenging for all competitors, as gusts of 20-22 knots came down from the west creating a highly variable race track. Lettsome came off the starting line in good form in the first two races, putting up his best two scores of the series with a 14th in race 1, and a 15th in race 2. Patience was a key component in both races, as the wind was shifting upwards of 4-5 times each windward leg. In the final race of the day, a large wind direction change led Lettsome to the wrong side of the racetrack leaving him clawing back at the competition to secure a better position. Passing an impressive 12 boats on the final leg, he finished a hard fought 29th in race 3.

On day three of the competition, the Race Committee again struggled with light and variable conditions. After five hours of waiting on the Atlantic Ocean, the first race was started in a light 5-8 knots, with directional changes of 30-40 degrees. Lettsome once again proved that he is in a masterclass in starting, coming off the start line in great form to round the first turning mark in 8th place overall. Unfortunately, on the final leg he found himself in a ‘rip current’ that saw him fall down the leaderboard to finish in 27th in what would be the only race of the day.

On the final day of competition, the sailors were greeted by a new wind direction, with another light and variable day with winds coming out of the North. In race one, just seconds after the start, the World Sailing Umpires penalized Lettsome with a 720degree spin having judged him to have used an illegal ‘pumping’ manouevre at the start. This left him few options to get back in to the race and required an epic come-from-behind game of catch up. Ultimately he was able to pass ten boats to finish a disappointing 32nd, his worst score of the series.

The final two races of the regatta were also challenging with Lettsome again finding himself on the incorrect side of the race course. In the final race of the day, Lettsome and US Olympian Charlie Buckingham both executed fantastic starts and led up the course on the right side of the beat. Both were blindsided by a 40 degree shift to the left leaving them rounding the first turning mark in the 30’s. Lettsome’s bad luck finally wore off and a lot of hard work saw him pass 15 boats on the final run of the race. Securing a respectable 18th the impressive feat was even sweeter as he finished ahead of Buckingham!

After seven races, Thad finished 27th overall, and 4th in the under 21 division. While the final result may not have met his goal of top 15 overall, he did execute his process goals, one of which was creating world class starts in each race. With lots to build up and work on, Thad looks forward to the next major competitions. Guatemalan sailor, and 3-time Olympian Juan Mageli, took the overall win in the first competition of 2021. Second was 2021 Olympian Pancho Guanavara from Argentina, and third, 2-time Olympian, Charlie Buckingham from the USA.

Click here for final results.

Virgin’s Cup and William Thornton Race | Women At The Helm

21 boats entered 2020 Virgin’s Cup and William Thornton Race on Saturday, October 24

Victoria Rowlette at the helm of “Whoop Whoop” defended her title in the 2020 Virgin’s Cup and William Thornton Race on Saturday, October 24.

21 boats entered the race ranging from the Corsair trimarans to 40ft cruising boats and 12 foot dinghies. The Virgin’s Cup, sponsored by the Willy T, is always a popular event, getting women on the helm and encouraging families to get out together on the race course and enjoy the party at the end,

After a week of very light winds Saturday dawned with cracking conditions and sunshine, and even the rain stayed away.

First away was the monohull fleet, their course taking them up the channel to Hog Valley Green, across to Deadchest and then passing Peter Island to starboard. Next around Pelican and the Indians before heading to the finish in the Bight. Linda Phillips on IC24 Latitude 18 nailed the best start and away they went.

A pre-start loss of steering aboard Tranquillo saw them start a little late under emergency tiller but that was not going to stop them! The team went on to finish fourth overall and win the best dressed crew award for showing true commitment with custom made event crew shirts.

Meagan Woodman’s sail training Beneteau 23 were also a little late for the start and opted to sail a ‘modified course’ taking a direct route to the Willy T.

Next up were four trimarans who delivered a spectacle and, after a quick line re-set, the dinghies were sent off on their more direct route, leaving the Indians to port before heading for the finish. First to arrive at the finish line was Colin Rathbun with his UFO and just over a minute behind him, Christian Thompson in the other. Still relatively new to the BVI, it seems the window for ideal foiling conditions is small.

Next in was Samuel Allen who took the Laser Radial win. The Bight is notorious for flukey wind and the first to struggle with the tricky gusts coming into the finish were Charlotte Matthews and Dwayne Palmer with Palmer coming out on top by just 3 seconds. Despite having the best start, Max Reshetiloff closed out the Radial fleet in fourth.

Liz Killeen and Rob Lind also had ‘some fun’ with the finish and only just edged out Stephen Ganga in the RSFevas. 10 year old Darcey Lilleyman sailing with dad Tom finished third in the Feva class to wrap up the dinghy fleets.

It was little surprise to see the bright orange hull of Whoop Whoop taking line honours for the big boats. At 13 years of age, Victoria Rowlette, defended her title from 2019, leading Ting a Ling, helmed by Candice Nichol, by six minutes. Next in was Sarah Ebrill with Airgasm to take third in class and third overall. Rounding out the trimaran fleet was Sam Brown at the helm of The Flying Pig.

The most remarkable finish was delivered by the Firewater team with Dee Bowden at the helm. While not their finest moment, they had still done enough for the Melges 24 to edge out the chasing IC24s. Coming in with just 37 seconds between them, Racing in Paradise and Latitude 18 were a delight to see on the race course again as neither one has raced since the hurricanes of 2017 with hopes that there will be more to come from them. RIP just took the edge with the helm shared between Claire Potter, Katie Westlake and 5 1/2 year old Rosie Wooldridge who also won the youngest competitor award. Linda Phillips and the Latitude 18 team came in third in racing and sixth overall.

First home in the cruising class and far enough ahead to hold off the chasing pack, was Odyssey, another boat where the helming duties were shared. Well done to Lisa Sutherland-Pilch, Claudia Delahoy and Judy Petz. Becky Paull skippering Aira were next home but second went to the Wicked Winch team helmed by Becca Brannigan. Finally, still looking good in their red shirts, was Tranquillo to take fourth.

The Royal BVI Yacht Club and event organising committee thanked Ewan Anderson and all the team at the Willy T for another great race wrap and the prizes. Thanks were also extended to PRO Bob Phillips and Leslie for race committee work and photography and to Julia, John and Mandi for providing safety cover for the dinghy fleet.

BVIOC distributes Panam Sports coach funding to national federations

BVIOC presents coach hiring funds from Panam Sports to its national federations
BVI National Federations receive coach hiring funds from Panam Sports distributed by the BVIOC

The BVI Olympic Committee distributed cheques totaling $100,000 from Panam Sports to 14 of its member federations on June 26, 2020. The funds are part of Panam Sports’ special project for the hiring of coaches in support of sports development in the Americas.

The 14 national federations which currently are active and which are recipients of the coaching funds include Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Football, Rugby, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Sailing, Softball/Baseball, Squash, Swimming and Volleyball.

“Coaching is a fundamental part of the success of any athlete or team and the development of sports,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The BVIOC applied to receive its allocation of $100,000 from Panam Sports which earmarked the money specifically for the hiring of coaches. The BVIOC and its national federations are very appreciative of the funding which is yet another demonstration of Panam Sports’ continued commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports across its 41 member nations which includes the Virgin Islands.”

The funding for coaches is one of the latest tangible resources Panam Sports has made available to the BVIOC and its member federations. Sports and athletes receive the direct benefits which the BVIOC apply for whether it’s through a donation of training equipment, funds for repairs to facilities – including the replacement of the Mondo track at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds or through development initiatives such as coach training sessions.

Panam Sports is also engaged with all athletes across the continent with its ongoing virtual support sessions featuring professional experts in all aspects of sports both physical and psychological. The virtual sessions were introduced as part of the organizations’ response to the impact of COVID-19 on athletes and their training and competition programmes in the lead up to the now rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

About Panam Sports

The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) was established on August 8th, 1948 and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the continental Association of the NOCs of the Americas. In 2017 the organization was rebranded as Panam Sports.

Its principal objects are the celebration and conduct of the Pan American Games and the promotion, development and protection of sport, as well as the Olympic Movement, in the Americas through its member NOCs. The current President, Neven Ilic, has held the post since 2017.

Malone, Lettsome to attend inaugural Panam Sports Awards Gala

With the aim of recognizing the effort, passion and dedication of the athletes of the Americas, for the first time in history, Panam Sports is bringing together athletes, media, sport and government leaders to an awards ceremony on December 13 honoring the best of the best in sport in 2019, with the highlight being the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

Chantel Malone – who made history when she won the Virgin Islands’ first Panam Games medal with her gold winning leap of 6.68m in the long jump – and Thad Lettsome, the VI’s first sailor in the Games since the 1990s – will join Olympians, World Champions, historical sporting icons and those who shined brightest in the Peruvian capital at the inaugural Panam Sports Awards in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee and Lloyd Black, Secretary General, BVIOC will also be in attendance.

“This is a momentous occasion for the Virgin Islands,” said Mr. Penn. “We are exceptionally proud of Chantel and Thad who were selected from thousands of athletes to be invited to attend this special, historic event.”

The evening is expected to rival those seen in Hollywood, complete with Red Carpet, bright lights, artistic performances, glamor and emotion.

Featuring the great athletes of the Americas, the Panam Sports family and VIP guests, the historic ceremony honouring the greatest moments and performances from the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games will be broadcast live for the world to see who will be crowned the Best Athletes of the Americas.

The Panam Sports Awards will officially begin at 7:00 pm EST and will conclude at 8:15pm EST.

Univisión is producing and transmitting the event that will be shown free-to-air on their television network on Saturday, December 14 at 11:00 pm EST, 10:00 pm CST and 8:00 pm PST. The special program will feature the best moments and highlights from the inaugural Panam Sports Awards called “Gala del Deporte de las Américas”.

Sports fans across the globe will also be able to watch the Panam Sports Awards ceremony live through multiple streaming platforms. ESPN PLAY will stream the event throughout Latin America and the Caribbean; the R7 channel owned by Record TV in Brazil will also live-stream; and of course, the new and improved Panam Sports Channel will begin the live-stream at 5:00 pm EST from the Red Carpet.

ABOUT PANAM SPORTS

The Pan American Sports Organization (Panam Sports) is the leader of sport and the Olympic Movement in the Americas. We propel the development of sport and support our 41 member National Olympic Committees to inspire more participation in international competitions as well as participation of the youth to prepare the generation to come in our region.

Panam Sports works closely with athletes, National Olympic Committees (NOC), Organizing Committees of all regional games, Pan American Sport Confederations, International Federations (IF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to secure the success and celebration of our main event, the Pan American Games.

Lettsome fifth at US High School Sailing Nationals

Thad Lettsome placed 5th at the 2019 Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) Cressy High School Singlehanded National Championship, Santa Barbara, CA 2019

The 2019 Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) Cressy High School Singlehanded National Championship took place in Santa Barbara, California on 2-3 November. BVI national, Thad Lettsome qualified to compete for Tabor Academy when he won the NESSA Single Handed Championship for the Healy Trophy in October.

The first day of racing saw a slow build in the south south westerly wind ranging from 6 to 12 knots. Nine races were sailed on day one with Lettsome posting consistent finishes across the board.

The best races for Lettsome were in the breezier conditions where the combination of a clean start and excellent boat speed in hiking conditions resulted in posting three second place finishes on his score card. Throughout the day, Lettsome demonstrated excellent boat handling and solid tactical decision making to sit just six points off second place at the close of the day.

On day two, there were four more races which were sailed in light variable conditions. It was a day of mixed fortunes for Lettsome and despite an eighth and another second, an OCS in race 11 and a somewhat complicated protest situation, he slid back to finish sixth overall.

Whilst not the overall result he was hoping for, the regatta was a great opportunity to develop skills worked on at a recent training camp with Canadian Olympian Lee Parkhill. In particular, downwind skills and gybing technique were both areas where he regained positions in Santa Barbara.

Victoria Rowlette Wins & Ladies Celebrate 100 | Willy T Race & Virgins Cup

Victoria Rowlette, driving Whoop Whoop took the multihull class and the overall win in the 29th Willy T Race and Virgin’s Cup. Photo: © RBVIYC / Clair Burke

The 29th Willy T Race and Virgin’s Cup took place on Saturday, October 19 with 14 boats racing from Nanny Cay across to the Willy T.

From a start line set off Nanny Cay, the race took sailors up to Hog Valley Green marker buoy off Road Town and across the channel to pass between Norman and Peter Island, down to Pelican and the Indians and up to finish in the Bight. Four dinghies took a more direct route to round Pelican and the Indians before entering the Bight.

There were two dinghy classes, the Laser 4.7 and RSFeva. Samuel Allen and Max Reshetiloff duked it out in the Laser 4.7 with Allen taking a commanding lead to the Indians. Reshetiloff made a comeback in the final leg to the finish but not quite enough to take the win from Allen.

In the RSFeva class, 9 year old Darcy Lilleyman and her dad Tom showed off the skills she’s learned in the RBVIYC after school program to take the win. Up against them were Julia Campbell and Dave Allen who were forced to retire after taking on water.

There were five entries in the cruising class, all but one with lady helms. Sharon Barber steered Wicked Winch to the overall victory in her class by just over 2.5 minutes on corrected time. In second place was Odyssey, helmed by Lisa Sutherland-Pilch, who had an eventful race including an unexpected dunking for owner, Miles!

Barbara Bailey on Second Nature claimed third ahead of Monica Geppert on Moonshadow in fourth. Flying in for line honors in the class was Bruce Fletcher’s Ginger but they took fifth with an RTD as it’s not quite the done thing to use the engine!

Three boats in the race division had a very close race but the IC24 ElAmanda, helmed by Amanda Plaxton and Leslie Cramer clinched the win, despite a late start. In second place was Dee Bowden with Firewater and Sam Brown at the helm of The Black Pig came in third.

In the multihull division, Lucky 7 with Linda Phillips at the helm got off to a flying start but unfortunately rudder failure half way around the course forced them to retire. This left Victoria Rowlette, driving Whoop Whoop, with a clean shot. A fantastic performance from 12 year old Rowlette saw her take the multihull class and the overall win.

At a colourful prize giving hosted by the Willy T’s very own Ewan Anderson, thanks we’re given to the race committee and local supporters who donated prizes; the Willy T, Captain Mulligans, Village Cay and Nanny Cay Beach Bar.

Special awards were given to the oldest and youngest skippers, Barbara Bailey (91) and Darcy Lilleyman (9), whose combined age reached a whopping 100 years. Flora Lilleyman was also acknowledged for her assistance to the race committee.

Click here for photos on RBVIYC Facebook page.

Click here for high res pictures on RBVIYC Flickr page.

All images: © RBVIYC / Clair Burke

Results
Laser 4.7

  1. Samuel Allen
  2. Max Reshetiloff

RSFeva

  1. Darcy and Tom Lilleyman
  2. Julia Campbell and Dave Allen (RTD)

Cruising

  1. Wicked Winch (Hunter 30.2) – Sharon Barber
  2. Odyssey (Beneteau 44.7) – Lisa Sutherland-Pilch
  3. Second Nature (Hughes38) – Barbara Bailey
  4. Moonshadow (Tayana/V42) – Monica Geppert
  5. Ginger (Morgan46) – Bruce Fletcher (RTD)

Racing

  1. ElAmanda (IC24) – Amanda Plaxton & Leslie Cramer
  2. Firewater (Melges24) – Dee Bowden
  3. Black Pig (Tartan10) – Sam Brown

Multihull

  1. Whoop Whoop (Corsair27) – Victoria Rowlette
  2. Lucky 7 (Corsair750) – Linda Phillips (RTD)

Lettsome wraps up BVI’s Pan Am Games action with best performance

Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
BVI Pan Am Games Media Contact

Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome wrapped up his sailing competition in Paracas, Peru on Thursday August 8, with the best day of competition. PHOTO: Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway 

LIMA, Peru – Thad Lettsome wrapped up the BVI’s 18th Pan Am Games appearance by its four athletes, with his best performance during four highly competitive days of racing against the Americas’ best Laser Sailors in Paracas, Peru on Thursday, August 8.

In his final two races of the competition, the 17-year old debutant, who carried the flag during the July 26 opening ceremonies, finished 11th in his first race – after being in fifth place then capsizing – and 16th in his second run. He placed 19th overall.

“The best day on paper but also a better day than it showed, because, the first race especially, we executed the plan perfectly and ended up rounding the first three marks in fifth,” said Lettsome. “Definitely the best three legs of the race and the best race by far, then I capsized. I was in sixth after that – it didn’t affect a lot – but it did affect me distance wise. I was close to the back of boats behind me, I didn’t manage them well and, on the last upwind, some of them passed me and I ended up eleventh.”

The Games he said, has been a great learning experience and he knows what he has to work on everything to improve: fitness, how he steers the boat in different conditions, and sail trim.

“Everything needs to be better rounded,” said Lettsome, who has decided on the Laser as the boat he will sail into the future.

Coach Alec Anderson said Lettsome was able to put together the things they had been discussing about the process in the last race.

“That race alone proves that he can commit, keep his head down, work hard on the process and it was really cool to see,” Anderson said. “What I’ve been preaching here is, as long as we’re focused on the process of improving, getting as much out of this experience as possible, in four years, he can come back, give it a go and compete for a medal. That’s the most important thing and I think Thad has done a tremendous job with that. I’m very proud of him for sticking it out, keeping his head down, keeping the preparations the same, following the plan day in and day out, focusing on the process. He should be proud of himself too.”

Radio reports on CBN 90.9 FM, with Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway, are aired 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., through Sunday, with a 9 a.m. wrap up on Monday.

Eldred Henry places 6th in Pan Am Games Shot Put

Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
BVI Pan Am Games Media Contact

LIMA, Peru – Eldred Henry brought the curtains down on the BVI’s track and field participation in the 18th Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru on Wednesday night, with a sixth placed shot put finish, after Ashley Kelly had a non-advancing time in the 400m final.

“I’m not pleased at all. I’m very disappointed,” Henry said after his best effort of 19.82m – his first meet of the season under 20.00m. “I’ll say under the circumstances, I can’t complain. I’m just thankful I was able to complete the meet without reinjuring my finger and move on from there. On a good day, I know I should be more than able to be in the medal mix, but it didn’t happen today. I just couldn’t get into my rhythm at all. That was the biggest issue.”

Henry who opened with an unlooked for 18.51m effort, hyperextended the ring finger on his throwing hand before the Games and was out of commission for a few weeks of training.

“Just couldn’t get into my rhythm at all, that’s my biggest issue right now,” Henry pointed out. “I had to take a couple weeks off throwing because I messed up my hand and finally got it back healthy, but, just getting back into the swing of things – it didn’t come together tonight.”

From his opening throw, Henry said he wasn’t feeling it on his left side. He said when he got a good set up, he feels it off the back side – something he wasn’t feeling last night – although he tried to work it, it wasn’t coming at all.

“In practice, it was touch and go,” he noted. “I would hit it and then, a couple throws later, not hit it again. It was coming, but not as fast as I would have liked it to.”

Ashley Kelly’s 400m
Ashley Kelly had a non-advancing time in her 400m semifinal, finishing in 54.42 seconds.

“I really tried to get out, put myself in the race and really finish the last 150 the way I know I had to, make the final by coming in the top three, things didn’t pan out how I wanted it, but, I’m really grateful of the opportunity to be here,” she said. “I felt good during the race but my footspeed isn’t where I want it to be. I’m still l bit uncomfortable in the race but, it is what it is. I’m happy that I made it through and didn’t give up, that’s what important to me right now.”

Laser Sailing
Thad Lettsome had his best race of the Laser competition in Paracas on Wednesday, finishing 15th in his first race of the day. He was 19th in the second race and had an 18th place finish in his last race. He’s currently ranked 19th overall.

He wraps up the BVI’s participation in the 18th Pan American Games today with two races.

Radio reports on CBN 90.9 FM with Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway are aired 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., through Sunday, with a 9 a.m. wrap up on Monday.