VI sailors make news – Thad Lettsome selected for Lima 2019 PanAm Games

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

Thad Lettsome. Source:All at Sea

2019 PanAm Games
Thad Lettsome will be representing the Virgin Islands (UK) in the Men’s Laser event at this year’s Pan American Games in Peru. The territory’s #1 Laser sailor has been awarded a Universality Place by the organizing committee and will be traveling to the prestigious event in July this year.

The BVI has not been represented in the sailing events at the PanAm Games since the 1990s.

RWU Hall of Fame
BVI Sailor, Alec Anderson, has been inducted into the Roger Williams University Hall of Fame. Anderson was a four-year member of the RWU Sailing team, ending his career as one of the most accomplished sailors in program history. He was a three-time ICSA All-American Coed Skipper and a three-time All-NEISA First Team Skipper. Congratulations Alec!

Charleston Race Week
Colin Rathbun, Christian Thompson, Ted Reshetiloff and Max Reshetiloff representing the BVI raced in the Flying Tiger 7.5 class with Andrew Kerr at the 2019 Sperry Charleston Race Week. The Team finished 1st overall with four wins in the 9 race series and never finishing lower than third in any race. Congratulations Team BVI!

Lettsome Finishes On a High at 2018 Youth Worlds

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

Thad Lettsome finished in 14th place at the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas. Photo: Jen Edney/World Sailing

Thad Lettsome finished the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships in 14th place. Racing in the 58 strong Boy’s Laser Radial event Lettsome pulled out all the stops on the final day of racing to clinched a 5th place and raise himself one place up the leaderboard.

Racing took place from 16-20 July with two races per day until the final day when one race was sailed. Lettsome sprang out of the blocks on day one with a 13th and a 6th and continued to punch out all but two top 20 finishes. Proving that consistency is key and ending the regatta with his best result is a terrific boost.

“It was an epic day today, I had to battle really hard with the Spanish sailor to get ahead of him overall,” said Lettsome. “We worked on a plan and I believe I executed it the best I could.”

“There were just four points separating 11th to 14th,” commented coach Chris Watters. “On a normal day a fifth would have moved him up all those spots but all the other competitors in that range put out their best race as well! It was really great to see them all step up.”

There were 382 competitors from 66 nations at this year’s event racing in nine events – this is the best of the best. In December, Lettsome travelled to China for his first Youth Worlds and finished a very creditable 33th place.

“I am very proud of Thad and his performance this year, he has accomplished a huge amount in the last six months,” said Coach Watters.

At 16 years of age, Lettsome has another two years of eligibility to compete at this championship which in 2019 will be hosted by Gdynia, Poland.

Earlier in July, Lettsome finished in 10th place at the US Laser Radial Nationals which he used a training event for the Worlds. Next up will be CORK regatta in Kingston, Canada from 13-17 August. He also represents the Tabor Academy racing Club 420s in the high school circuit.

The Royal BVI Yacht Club thanks World Sailing for the support from the ENP and for putting on another great event, coach Chris Watters and everyone who supports the Youth Sailing Programme in the BVI.

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ENP Scholarship
Lettsome was awarded a scholarship by World Sailing to join their Emerging Nations Programme (ENP) which included a coaching clinic in the days leading up to the Championships. “The clinic is a great opportunity for the sailors to get used to the area before the competition starts, fine tune and prepare for sailing with a big fleet of boats.” said Lettsome.

About the Youth Sailing World Championships
The Youth Sailing World Championships is the premiere event on the youth racing calendar. With just one entry per nation per event it is the ultimate achievement to gain the opportunity to represent your country.

First contested in 1971 a long list of sailing greats have won medals at this event as they emerged onto the international stage.

47th Annual Peg Legs Round Tortola Race Adds A Twist

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

5ad62680-ca40-44cd-843d-ae274a6d14d8The 47th Peg Legs Round Tortola Race organised by the Royal BVI Yacht Club (RBVIYC) and sponsored by Nanny Cay, will take place on Saturday 19 November. Four classes – racing, performance cruising, cruising and multihull – will compete in the 37-mile race. The course change for the 2016 race will give competitors more tactical choices to make.

The course takes the fleet anti-clockwise around Tortola as usual. The first warning for the start will be at 9am in the Sir Francis Drake Channel off Nanny Cay. The fleet then sails east up the Sir Francis Drake Channel, and takes Beef Island to port, where the course twist has been added. The course change gives crews the tactical decision of sailing between Beef Island and Tortola and Great Camanoe and Guana islands, or heading further out, sailing outside Great Camanoe. Then, as in previous races, the fleet heads to West End where, after a quick wiggle through Soper’s Hole, it will be a beat back to the finish line off Nanny Cay.

“We thought this would spice the race up a bit,” said Eddie Brockbank, Captain of Sailing at the RBVIYC. “It becomes a more tactical race, rather than a drag race for the bigger boats. It will be interesting to see what the crews choose to do and how it affects the results of the race.”

Only boats rounding Great Camanoe and Guana Island to port will be eligible for the Nanny Cay Challenge.

Registration for this year’s event will be held at the Beach Bar at Nanny Cay from 6pm to 8pm on Friday. The prize giving will take place at Nanny Cay’s Beach Bar at 5pm on Saturday.

Prizes include a haul-out and launch, chandlery items, free dockage, free hotel rooms and the Round Tortola trophy for the overall winner.

Entry Fees: RBVIYC members $30; non-members $40.

In 2015, Boomorang, skippered by Doug Stewart, claimed overall victory in the 46th edition of the race after a long and tricky day on the water.

Although fair winds were forecast and a feisty squall blasted down the channel shortly before the start, the wind died just as the three classes entered their start sequence.

Line honours went to multihull Triple Jack who posted a finish time of 5 hours and 34 minutes to also win the multihull class.

Keith LiGreci and the crew of Girasoli came home in first place in the Cruising Class, the finish time of the race having been extended to accommodate the light conditions.

Some of the slower boats chose to retire since they would not have been able to complete the circumnavigation in daylight hours, but they enjoyed themselves nonetheless – both on the water and at the after-race party hosted by Peg Legs.

Nanny Cay Challenge

Nanny Cay launched the Nanny Cay Challenge for the Round Tortola record in 2010. Yachts visiting the British Virgin Islands are invited to make an attempt to beat the latest records.

It’s an all-comer, any-day event, starting and finishing off Nanny Cay. Competitors must attempt the record anti-clockwise and round Beef, Scrub Island, Great Camanoe and Guana Island to port.

TP52 SPOOKIE broke the Monohull Nanny Cay Challenge record in the Round Tortola Race at this year’s BVI Spring Regatta. An elapsed time of 3:08:43, took a whopping 21 minutes off the previous record of 03:29:44, set in March 2013 by Peter Corr’s Aiyana, an Alia 82.

Trimaran Triple Jack holds the outright and multihull Round Tortola Record of 2 hours, 33 minutes and 40 seconds.

As with most sailing events, the reward is in the taking part and bragging rights but record breakers will be able to celebrate their feat with a free dinner at Peg Legs for up to 15 crew members and a jeroboam of champagne compliments of Nanny Cay. Record breakers also get their name on the perpetual trophy which is on display year-round in Peg Legs Restaurant.

Challengers must pay an entry fee of $250 which is donated to a BVI charity of the challenger’s choice and includes two night’s dockage (before and after attempt) at Nanny Cay. The charities to benefit so far:

– BVI Humane Society, $250, Triple Jack (April 2015)
– RBVIYC Youth Sailing Programme: $250, SPOOKIE (March 2016); $250, Aiyana (March 2013)
– VISAR: Aiyana, $250 (March 2013)
– KATS: $250, INTAC, (November 2012)
– BVI Humane Society: $250, Triple Jack (October 2012); $250, Soma (April 2010)

Record Holders
Monohull
TP 52, SPOOKIE, Steve & Heidi Benjamin – 29 March 2016 – 3 hours, 08 mins, 43 secs

Multihull
Triple Jack, Richard Wooldridge/Steve Davis – 30 April 2015 – 2 hrs, 33 mins, 40 secs

Green Fleet Regatta & School’s (Nearly) Out Party

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

Sailors at the RBVIYC Green Fleet Regatta & School's (Nearly) Out Party. Photo: RBVIYC

Sailors at the RBVIYC Green Fleet Regatta & School’s (Nearly) Out Party. Photo: RBVIYC

On Saturday 11 June, 25 sailors came to Nanny Cay to celebrate the end of the school year. On this calm, light-wind day, five race team members were kept busy swapping 20 participants into sailboats and kayaks to race, play, and practice their sailing skills. They even managed to take our newer sailors for joy rides while still keeping time for running races.

Throughout the day five races were held and for each, a different sailor crossed the finish line as the victor.

 It was a great day for firsts and trying out new boats and by the end of the afternoon every sailor had had a go in every different type of boat.  Alex Fox and Antonio Cisneros both tested their skills on the race course in the Laser for the first time before jumping into Optimists and having some fun.

 Newbies, Sahil Khan, Freddie Rawlings and Lewis Wharton came out and took part in all the action throughout the day as well.  Open Bic crews of Jake and Zach Hallet, Felix Thorp, Barnaby Killourhy and Isaac Sutherland-Pilch swapped their racing skills for pirating as they hopped aboard the Lasers, capsizing and swimming.

Seven girls made quite a presence too when Victoria Rowlette, Sophia Jara, Laura D’Aloisio, Martha Killourhy and Amanda Plaxton raced with style and mixed it up in the kayaks and took a spin in the Lasers.

 Kael Chalwell, the newest member of the race team, sailed the course without fault, lending a hand to fellow newbie ‘green’ racer, Ethan George along the way.

KATS program sailors made an appearance too: De’Sani Thomas and Farrari Khan whizzed around in their Optimists as well as having a go racing around with the kayaks.

After the on-water racing and games, a barbecue was waiting. The day concluded with the race members awarding certificates and congratulations to all participants.

 To cap off the day, Commodore of the West End Yacht Club (WEYC), Lou Schwartz and Secretary, John Hayes arrived to present the a cheque for $500.

Schwartz explained to the children that the WEYC works alongside the RBVIYC to offer fun and entertaining racing in the BVI and are committed to helping develop sailing in the BVI through their fundraising efforts.  

”It is fantastic to see so many of you here today,” said Schwartz.”You are the future of sailing here in the BVI and the West End Yacht Club is delighted to be able to support this programme which is producing so many talented sailors.”

The RBVIYC thanks the instructor team for all the preparation, Steve Roose for helping organize and keeping the sailors safe on land and water, Clair Burke for the fabulous photographs and all the parents – out on their boats, baking, barbecuing and helping the sailors throughout the day.

 Acknowledgement is also extended to Nanny Cay and sailing programme supporters.

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British Virgin Islands Duff WIns 22nd International Optimist Regatta

Rayne Duff in St Thomas

Rayne Duff in St Thomas

Shifting strategies to match wind speed and direction, staying out in front of the fleet and remaining calm provided successful strategies for 11-year-old Rayne Duff. Duff won the 22nd International Optimist Regatta (IOR) hosted out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, St. Thomas, USVI, from June 20 to 22. At the conclusion of Sunday’s final two races, the Tortola, British Virgin Islands based sailor continued to lengthen his lead and comfortably finished with 33 points separating him from his closest competition. That’s quite a feat considering the keen level of competition in the 59-boat Advanced Optimist fleet and wind conditions blowing a brisk 10 to 15 knots, plus higher in gusts.

“I still need to work on my starts,” says Duff, who along with his other team members will be representing the BVI in the Optimist North American Championships, in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, July 9 to 16. “But being consistent, in the top three in every race, is really what helped.”

Duff not only won the overall championship, but also the 11- and 12-year-old Blue Fleet. The BVI had a total of 7 sailors in the competition.

BVI Coach Rob Lind said “the BVI team sailed really well and we were very proud of all of them, especially of course Rayne Duff”. 

Nathan Haycraft came second in the 10 and under White Fleet – 35th overall. Thad Lettsome in 11 and 12 year old Blue Fleet was the 2nd best BVI Boat and 19th overall. Sam Childs finished 25th overall, James Dawson 36th overall and Amelie Clark 39th. Anya Reshetiloff competed in Green Fleet.

In the 13- to 15-year-old Red Fleet, it was 13-year-old Teddy Nicolosi, from St. Thomas, USVI, who finished first in spite of poor scores at the beginning of the regatta.

“The first day I was too nervous, I couldn’t think straight,” says Nicolosi, a member of the USVI National Team that will also compete in the Optimist North Americans in Mexico. “The second day I relaxed and told myself I didn’t care about the results, that it was just practice. Then I started sailing better.”

The USA’s Stephan Baker won the age 10 and Under White Fleet. “I played the left side of the course. That’s what my coach recommended and he has a lot of experience here. It really paid off,” says Baker. Baker is coached in Miami, Florida, by Antigua native and former BVI coach, Omari Scott.

The trophy for Top Girl was awarded to 11-year-old Isabella Casaretto from the USA. Casaretto also finished an impressive 7th overall.

“I sailed here last year and didn’t do well,” says Casaretto. “This year, I got clean starts, clear air and kept up with the top of the fleet. I like it that there’s a lot of wind here.”

Twenty-two junior sailors competed in the Green or Beginner Fleet, which bodes well for the future of the sport. In the end, it was 9-year-old Caroline Sibilly from St. Thomas, USVI, who emerged victorious.

“My strategy was to get away from the others and into clear air so I could go fast,” says Sibilly.

“I was very impressed with the level of skill here especially in the top sailors,” says David Campbell James of Southampton, UK, who served as the IOR’s Principal Race Officer.

A total of 81 sailors competed in the Advanced Red, Blue and White Fleets and beginner Green Fleet. The Advanced Fleets completed 10 races and the Green Fleet a total of 18races over the three days of competition. Sailors hailed from 10 nations – Antigua, Argentina, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Germany, Puerto Rico, Spain, the Netherlands, U.S.A, and all three USVI.

The IOR is organized under authority of the Virgin Islands Sailing Association and it is a Caribbean Sailing Association-sanctioned event.

The week started off with the Sea Star Clinic, run by local coaches and coaches from OptiSailors.com, and included the one-day Sea Star Team Race. The BVI team sailors were Rayne Duff, James Dawson, Thank Lettsome and Nathan Haycraft. They won 3 of their 5 heats qualifying for the semi-finals; they ended up with 4th place.

The team race was won by STYC 1, made up of Teddy Nicolosi, Christopher Sharpless, Mateo DiBlasi and Robert Hunter.

The BVI would like to thank their Sponsors Moorings, Nanny Cay and Nagico Insurances without whom the weekend would not have been possible.