Sailor Thad Lettsome busy with university racing circuit

Thad Lettsome (helmsman) races on the Green Wave Team of Tulane University

BVI sailor Thad Lettsome has been keeping busy on the university racing circuit representing the Green Wave Team of Tulane University.

Back in September, Lettsome finished in 4th place at the MAISA Laser North Qualifier in a fleet of 16 sailors. With light winds throughout the weekend, Lettsome was the highest placed finisher for Tulane. With 14 races across the two-day competition, he posted a string of top five finishes including two 1st place finishes and three 2nds.

On October 9 and 10, the Coed team traveled to Connecticut for the Atlantic Coast Championship which was held on the Charles River and featured 18 of the Top 20 teams in the country. The event also served as a sneak peak for the national championship this spring. The Green Wave had to battle back to 9th position and were able to secure the final bid to the finals in the very last race thanks to a strong performance by Thad Lettsome and Gillian Perrell.

“It really came down to Thad and Gillian having to match what the sailors from Bowdoin were looking to do,” head coach Charles Higgins said. “At the end of the day, Thad and Gillian did exactly what we needed them to do.”

The finals took place on the St Mary’s River in Maryland this weekend where the sailing COED team climbed up three spots in the standings to finish fifth out of 18 teams in the Atlantic Coast Championship on Sunday, October 24.

The weekend of October 18, the Nevins Trophy took place at King’s Point in New York with winds from the south ranging from 12 to 22 knots. Taking the helm for races 1 through 10, Lettsome gave the team a strong start towards their final finishing position of fourth overall.

2021 Junior Pan American Games
In November Thad will representing the BVI at the inaugural Junior PanAm Games in Cali, Colombia. Racing in the ILCA 7 (Laser) he will face off against the best sailors of North and South America and the Caribbean.

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.

Chalwell, Duff & Morrell head clean sweep for Team BVI in St Thomas

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

Team BVI at the 2017 MLK Regatta in St Thomas. Photo: Provided

Team BVI at the 2017 MLK Regatta in St Thomas. Photo: Provided

Ten Team BVI Sailors raced in St Thomas at the 2017 MLK Regatta, January 14 – 15. It was a tough two days for all the sailors with the chill northerly wind gusting up to 30 knots across the race courses. Kael Chalwell, Rayne Duff and Sam Morrell all topped their classes, Opti Green, Opti Championship and Club 420 respectively.

Optimist Championship Fleet
Back with a vengeance after some time away from competition in the Optimist Championship fleet was Rayne Duff. Thriving in the windy conditions he was on form throughout the weekend. With nine races sailed, Duff took the bullet in seven, posting six consecutive race wins and finished on top of the podium ahead of arch rival Mia Nicolosi.

It was a less successful weekend for the other Championship fleet sailors… Nathan Haycraft finishing in sixth and Kyle Roose in ninth to give them second and fifth in the blue fleet.

Haycraft, forced to skip the first race after breaking his mast step, was luckily able to switch to a spare boat and get back into the action for the remaining four races of the day. A better second day saw him climb back up the leaderboard but not quite clicking into his recent top form. Roose posted consistent middle fleet results with his best finish of sixth coming in race six.

White fleet sailors Ryan Lettsome and Samuel Allen finished 17th and 18th overall respectively, both sailors challenged by the strong winds. Allen, the newest sailor to the championship fleet, could not quite match his excellent first day when he showed outstanding downwind speed in the breezy conditions. Just two points ahead was team mate Lettsome who secured fifth in the white fleet but like many of the lighter sailors found the conditions a major challenge.

Club 420
The BVI’s Sam Morrell, currently at school in St Thomas, was dominant in the five boat Club 420 fleet with crew Caroline Teare. Finishing first in five of the nine races he racked up a six point lead to take the overall win from Teddy Nicolosi of St Thomas. Morrell is looking ahead to a busy high school racing season, so we will be hearing more from him soon.

Optimist Green Fleet
The Green Fleet were wisely held ashore on Saturday but completed six races on Sunday under the watchful eye of Guest Coach Danny Petrovic. Kael Chalwell took the fleet by storm, finishing first in four of the six races by comfortable margins to secure an emphatic win.

Racing at his first overseas regatta was Antonio Cisneros. After not finishing the first race he went on to post confident results, including two 7th place finishes and rounded out the weekend in ninth overall.

Just two points behind in tenth place was Amanda Plaxton who stormed out of the blocks to finish fifth in the first race and went on to post consistent results through the remaining races. The youngest (and smallest) sailor in the team, Wil Seddon, struggled with the strong winds and after solid finishes in the first two races sat out the rest of the weekend.

The RBVIYC thanks the organizers for putting on a great weekend, the Moorings for the mothership, all of the parents who helped load / unload, prepare meals or chaperone the team, skipper Chris, Coach Taylor, guest coach, Danny Petrovic and all the sponsors and supporters of the BVI Youth Sailing Team.

Click here for full results

Champagne Sailing for Inaugural Carey Olsen Double-Hander

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

 Dancing Lady sailed by Jaques Roux and Rebecca Paull, fourth in cruising. 2016 Carey Olsen Double-Handed Race November, 5 2016. © RBVIYC / Eddie Brockbank

Dancing Lady sailed by Jaques Roux and Rebecca Paull, fourth in cruising. 2016 Carey Olsen Double-Handed Race November, 5 2016. © RBVIYC / Eddie Brockbank

After a week of light wind and heavy showers, the BVI turned on the charm for the inaugural Carey Olsen Double-Handed Race on Saturday, November 5 to deliver champagne sailing conditions. Mark Sanders and Rory Greenan took the overall win in the racing division aboard Sanderling, with Wicked Winch, sailed by David Lake and Eric Ball taking cruising.

Thirteen boats, each sailed by just two people, were treated to 12-18 knots of breeze, sunshine and remarkably no showers. A wind shift shortly before racing got underway gave the fleets some unexpected challenges with the cruisers faced with an upwind downwind course whilst the racers 20 mile course became more of a reacher…

The cruising fleet were first away with one early casualty as Gypsea, sailed by Chris and Bruce Fletcher, broke their rudder after a close encounter with the reef and were forced to withdraw. In a building breeze, the fleet rounded Hog Vally Green and then headed east to a buoy laid just off Buck Island before beating across to round Dead Chest, crossing back over the channel to Hog Valley Green, returning to the Rhone anchor dive ball and then back downwind to the finish off the Royal BVI Yacht Club.

The larger boats in the fleet, Adagio and MJ made early gains and by the time they reached Dead Chest had stretched away from the fleet, despite a navigational error early in the race by the latter. Taking line honours after three hours and 23 minutes of racing was MJ sailed by Tamsin Rand and Mandi Atack with Bill and Mike Hirst on Adagio coming in second.

Despite their lengthy lead neither boat could match the upwind prowess off David Lake and Eric Ball on Wicked Winch who were third across the line but with enough time to take the class win.

In fourth place, in their first RBVIYC race on the boat, were Jacques Roux and Becky Paull sailing Dancing Lady. Stephen St Leger Moore and Brian Edmunds on Sapphire Breeze finished just 7 minutes ahead of Dancing Lady but not enough to beat them on corrected time, ending their day in fifth.

Wildfire, sailed by John Hayes and Eddie Brockbank were the one and only multihull and had a blast around the same race track as the racing fleet.

The final fleet to start were the race boats, all with hardy duos ready for a tough slog around the 20 mile course. The slightly longer route took them to Buck Island, out around Cooper Island and Dead Chest before crossing back to Buck Island and reaching to the finish.

The ‘offshore’ elements of the course presented stronger winds and big waves to further challenge the crews but after nearly three and a half hours of racing, the four boats finished within six minutes of each other.

The quickest boat in the fleet, The Black Pig, sailed by Gilbo Simpson and Tim Parsons suffered a broken tiller extension to add to the difficulty of racing their boat alone instead of with their usual seven person team. Electing not to fly their spinnaker on the final leg to the finish they just managed to hold on for class line honours ahead of Chris Haycraft and Matt Hood on the IC24 Latitude 18.

Third across the line were Mark Sanders and Rory Greenan in the Soling following by Aaron Gardner and Tom MacKellar on Bravissimo so it was over to the rating calculation to work out the final positions…

After several years of re-fit and in his first race with the boat, Mark Sanders was delighted to be announced the overall winner with Sanderling. A little over two and half minutes behind on corrected time and claiming second overall was Latitude 18 with Bravissimo coming in third and The Black Pig in fourth.

A lively prize giving and after place took place at Sharky’s where stiff and weary sailors shared the highs and lows of a cracking day on the water.

The RBVIYC thanks Carey Olsen for supporting the concept of the race, contributing to the RBVIYC Youth Sailing Programme and providing excellent prizes for the competitors.

Thank you to all the competitors and, last but not least, thank you to Pam Fuller and Giles Wood for running the race committee.

The 2017 race is provisionally scheduled for Saturday 4 November.

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1. Wicked Winch – David Lake & Eric Ball
2. MJ – Tamsin Rand & Mandi Atack
3. Adagio – Bill & Mike Hirst
4. Dancing Lady – Jacques Roux & Rebecca Paull
5. Sapphire Breeze – Stephen St Leger Moore & Brian Edmunds
6. Gypsea – Chirs & Bruce Fletcher (RTD)

1. Wildfire – John Hayes & Eddie Brockbank

1. Sanderling – Mark Sanders & Rory Greenan
2. Latitude 18 – Chris Haycraft & Matt Hood
3. Bravissimo – Aaron Gardner & Tom MacKellar
4. The Black Pig – Gilbo Simpson & Tim Parsons

Leading Ladies Race For The Willy T Virgin’s Cup


Kishorn approaching the finish line at the 2016 Willy T Virgin's Cup. Photo:© RBVIVC / Clair Burke

Kishorn approaching the finish line at the 2016 Willy T Virgin’s Cup. Photo:© RBVIVC / Clair Burke

Thirteen boats registered to race in the 27th edition of the Willy T Virgin’s Cup on Saturday 15 October.

Racing in three classes got underway from Nanny Cay in a light but building breeze. The course took the fleet up to Road Town before scooting across the Sir Francis Drake Channel for the after party and prize giving at the Willy T.

In accordance with tradition, all the boats were helmed by female sailors with a spectacular turn out illustrating the depth of women’s sailing in the BVI. Of the 61 sailors on the race course, just under 50% (29) were female with the experienced hands mixing it up with some of the RBVIYC’s newest green fleet Optimist racers.

First away were the cruising boats in the jib and main class, with slow progress for all boats on the upwind leg to Lark Bank off the entrance to Road Town Harbour. Taking line honours and the overall win was Gypsea, a Hunter 34 SD skippered by Karen Fletcher. Leslie Cramer steered Kishorn to second place with Sapphire Breeze helmed by Steevie Stradley taking third.

Two Jeanneau Sun Odysseys competed for honours in the performance cruising division, the 40ft Girasoli and the 42ft Reverie. Their course took them upwind to the Hog Valley Green buoy, and across the channel to complete a figure of eight around Flannigan, Pelican and the Indians before finishing at the entrance to the Bight. The win went to Judy Petz skippering Girasoli with Pearline Williams and Angelica taking second on Reverie.

In the seven boat racing class the ladies easily outnumbered the men with several Virgin’s Cup virgins taking on the 2016 challenge and two all girl crews in the IC24s.

Line honours and the overall win went to Rushin’ Rowlette skippered by Charlotte Matthews, Victoria Rowlette and Anya Reshetiloff. Judy Haycraft, helming Latitude 18 with husband Chris and their eldest son Nathan, came in second on corrected time with another IC24, INTAC, helmed by Kay Reddy and Amanda Plaxton, finishing third.

The RBVIYC thanks all the competitors, the race committee, sponsors TICO, partners at Nanny Cay and the Willy T for providing the prizes, shirts and the after party.

Click here for photo gallery.

BVI sailor Sam Morrell posts results in series of US regattas

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

Sam Morrell raced in several US summer regattas.

Sam Morrell raced in several US summer regattas.

Sam Morrell has been busy this summer racing in the US with results including: 9th place finish at the Buzzards Bay Regatta in New Bedford, MA. With just under 200 Club 420’s competing, Morrell and his crew Caroline Teare posted a string of top 10 results to steal 9th place just ahead of the ISV’s Teddy Nicolosi.

From fleet racing to team racing, Morrell’s Men in Crocs team won the silver fleet at the CJ Buckley team racing event in Rhode Island, the US National Junior Team Racing Championship.

Sailing aboard the J88 Jazz as trimmer/tactician Morrell finished 1st at the Sail Newport Regatta and 3rd at New York Race Week.

Pipe Dream wins 2016 Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit Race

By BVI Royal Yacht Club

The Black Pig, 2nd overall in the 2016 Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit Race. Photo: RBVIYC /Clair Burke

The Black Pig, 2nd overall in the 2016 Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit Race.
Photo: RBVIYC /Clair Burke

Seven boats raced to Anegada on Saturday 25 June to contest the 2016 Lowell Wheatley Anegada Pursuit Race with Pipe Dream ultimately taking the win.

Starting from Road Harbour it was a beat east up the Sir Francis Drake Channel before making the turn past Beef Island, Scrub Island and the Dogs to shoot the final 13 miles to Anegada. Just 23 minutes separated the start times for the fleet so a good start was a must before deciding on the tactics up the channel.

First away was The Black Pig, a Tartan 10, skippered by Gilbo Simpson. Hot on their heels were Sheryl and Erik Groeneberg with Stella di Mare, Kevin Wrigley’s Boomerang, Chris Haycraft’s Pipe Dream with the larger cruising boats bringing up the rear with seconds between them.

The Black Pig and Pipe Dream soon stretched their legs and extended away from the fleet whilst a close battle ensued between Adagio, MJ and The Remedy.

Line honours ultimately went to Chris Haycraft’s Pipe Dream with son, Nathan on the helm and crewed by Giles Wood, Matt Hood, Clair Burke, Nici Haycraft, Ryan Lettsome and Scott Kirk. Second across the line was The Black Pig, with the all female team on MJ chasing hard to take third.

Three generations of the Hirst family sailing their Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 51 Adagio finished in fourth place just ahead of The Remedy, a Jeanneau 45.3, skippered by Tom Parish.

With most boats racing short-handed it was a tough day on the water but spirits were high as the fleet enjoyed the hospitality of the Anegada Reef Hotel.

Race sponsors inlcuded the Anegada Reef Hotel, Tico and Nanny Cay, Dick Schoonover.

1. Pipe Dream – Chris Haycraft
2. The Black Pig – Gilbo Simpson
3. MJ – Mandi Atack & Tamsin Rand
4. Adagio – Bill Hirst
5. The Remedy – Tom Parish
6. Stella di Mare – Erik & Sheryl Groeneberg
7. Boomerang – Kevin Wrigley

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.

Click for photo gallery