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.

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 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.