Sailor Thad Lettsome is scoring well on the college circuit

https://mcusercontent.com/850e1440dc10e214bb7b354cc/images/dc143017-38cc-4434-8c0c-1dd8b11a79be.jpeg

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.

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)

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!

VI sailor Thad Lettsome competes at Hempel World Cup Series 2019

By RBVIYC

BVI’s Thad Lettsome placed 88th at the Hempel World Cup Series 2019, Miami, USA Jan 27 – Feb 3. Photo copyright: Sailing energy/World Sailing

Thad Lettsome from the Virgin Islands placed 88th in the Laser class at the Hempel World Cup Series 2019 in Miami, USA  (January 27 – February 3). The top three places went to Hermann Tomasgaard (Norway) 1st, Sam Meech (New Zealand) 2nd, and Tom Burton (Australia) 3rd.

Competing at his first elite regatta at just 16 years of age, Lettsome raced in a fleet of 101 Lasers (the equipment used at the Olympic Games) including Olympic medalists and world champions.  Conditions were tricky throughout the regatta with storms whipping through the course areas and dramatic wind shifts providing challenges to all.

The qualifying series consisted of four races over two days before the fleet was divided into gold and silver fleets.  In light shifty conditions, Lettsome posted consistent results with his best finish in 39th position.  Assigned to the silver fleet, he went on to impress with outstanding scores in races 8 and 9 when he claimed 7th and 5th place.

With an excellent overall position of 88th, Lettsome takes home some valuable experience from his first elite senior regatta. Upcoming challenges for Lettsome will include the Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships in Poland in July.

The Hempel World Cup Series is the annual series of Olympic sailing events for elite and professional sailors.  The multi-class regattas attract the best of the best with this year’s Miami event listing 101 Laser entries including 2016 Olympic gold medalist Tom Burton, and bronze medalist Sam Meech.

Fifth Place for Thad Lettsome at ISSA Nationals

By RBVIYC
 

Thad Lettsome placed 5th at the Inter Scholastic Sailing Association National Championships. Photo: Elle Bruce

Thad Lettsome represented Tabor Academy at the US Inter Scholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) National Championships sailing the Laser during the weekend of weekend of 27-28 October.
Lettsome finished in fifth place overall with two first place scores in his series.
 
It was a cool weekend with light, shifty winds for the most part until the last two races when a shift to the west provided a solid 12-15knts of breeze to end the regatta.
The regatta was hosted by Macatawa Bay Yacht Club on Lake Michigan.
Click to read the full report

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.

Click for results
Click for photos

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.