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.

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.

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.

Lettsome sets sail as Malone jumps into Pan Am Games action

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

Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome heading down wind during the first full day of Pan Am Games racing in Paracas, Peru PHOTO Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

LIMA Peru – Laser sailor Thad Lettsome finally got the wind in his sail and made his debut in the 18th Pan Am Games sailing competition in Paracas, Peru yesterday, where he had two races, after the first two days of racing and four races were cancelled.

Lettsome, the youngest in the competition at age 17, was 16th in his best race and completed the first series on 37 points. “The start of the first race was great, 10/10, executed the plan perfectly, exactly what I wanted to do, but a few mistakes and a bit of an unlucky shift, put me way in the back and made it hard to come back up,” he explained. “The breeze got really light and shutting off. For the second race, we got back into it, had another great start – I had two good starts today – then I was in mid fleet for the whole race doing quite well in the new breeze. Then I lost probably three boats in the last leg of the race and that’s how I ended up 16th but I was racing quite well up until the end, so it could only get better now.”

Considering missing the first two days of racing, going out on Sunday and spending hours on the water, Coach Alec Anderson said he thought Lettsome did a good job, with his age and experience to stay level headed.

“We did a great job of preparing for that first race and we did a wonderful job and he was right next to the person from Guatemala who ended up winning the race,” Anderson noted. “He had a couple bad breaks. It was a very light and tricky race where one mistake – especially against some of these guys who are the top Laser sailors in the world it costs you a lot – so he paid the price on those small mistakes which we discussed afterwards and let it got.”

Anderson said another good start in the second race, saw him rounding the mark in 12th position which was excellent with this fleet and his second race in the regatta, and lost a few on the final leg of the race. “It was a bad moment for his boat speed but ultimately a good rally,” Anderson stated. “We know where he stands, we know there’s a lot of potential and we know he has the ability to climb up the leader board every day, so that’s the plan.”

Chantel Malone hits Long Jump runway
Long Jumper Chantel Malone will make her 2nd Pan Am Games appearance at 6:30 p.m. BVI time, in the second busiest day for BVI athletes in the Games. Malone finished fourth in 2015.

Tomorrow, Ashley Kelly will make her debut at 4:20 p.m., followed by Eldred Henry at 7 p.m.

Reports through Sunday will be made by Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway on CBN 90.9 FM at 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., with a 9 a.m. wrap up on Aug 12.

Laser sailor Thad Lettsome patiently awaits Pan Am Games debut

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

Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome works on a drill as he awaited the start of racing on Sunday afternoon, in Paracas, Peru. Races were called off for a second day at 4:55 p.m. because of unstable winds PHOTO Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

PARACAS Peru – Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome is having a tough time making his debut in the 18th Pan Am Games Laser sailing competition in Paracas, Peru.

After races were cancelled on Saturday because of a lack of consistent breeze, Sunday’s first of two races was cancelled for the same reason.

“At least they’re waiting for consistent breeze to sail,” Lettsome said after the Sunday morning cancellation was announced. “The worst is to sail in shifty breeze. It’s up and down, you’re waiting out there in the cold or the heat, so this is the best that they can do. I was ready to go, same as yesterday, same time and we figured the same thing would happen today, but we still wanted to stick to the same schedule. I’ve never had it where I’ve not sailed the first day, I’ve had it happened on other days, but this is something new. ”

The cancellation of the first three races Lettsome said, doesn’t change the dynamics of the event. “You just need to make sure you’re not getting too anxious or too nervous or anything like that,” he noted. “Besides that, it doesn’t change much.”

Then about 1:25 p.m., word came from the Race Committee that there would be a race and a buzz was in the air as the various classes of boats were launched, rigs fixed, life jackets were strapped on and everyone was on their way to the course.

As he headed to the dock, Coach Alec Anderson said he hoped there would be a race. “They could be sending us out just to try to they don’t get complaints,” he said. “Yesterday we didn’t (have a race) it could go either way right now, but at least we’re trying and we’ll see what happens.”

All 22 countries – some with boats in the three classes on this particular course – hitched their crafts and headed out to the course just before 2:00 pm. They patiently waited and the Race Committee shifted further south hoping for the breeze to fill in but none came and, at 4:55 p.m., the second race on the second day was called off and sailors headed back to the Paracas shore, to park and dismantle their boats and hit the gym.

“As the Race Committee, it’s pretty hard to please everyone and a day like today, you’re gonna hear feedback, either which way we go about things,” Anderson said. “If we stayed on shore, you would have had coaches complaining that we didn’t try and go out and if you go out and don’t have racing, you’ll have coaches complaining that you went out. Either way, you skin the cat, the Race Committee going to hear something about it. I think they at least had to try. We were on the verge of getting a race off but there weren’t stable conditions. It was pretty light and just wasn’t good enough for us.”

From August 6-11, Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway, will have reports on CBN 90.9 FM at 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., with a 9 a.m. wrap up on Aug 12.

Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome’s Pan Am Games debut delayed

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

(L-R) BVI Sailing Federation Federation official, Tamsin Rand, Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome, BVI Olympic Committee President Ephraim Penn and Sailing Coach Alec Anderson in Paracas , Lima after the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games’ opening day races were called off for lack of wind PHOTO Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

PARACAS, Peru – Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome’s planned debut yesterday in the opening day of sailing in the 18th Pan Am Games sailing in Paracas, Peru was delayed because there was no wind.

With a noon start, two races were scheduled on opening day but by 3:45 p.m. when things hadn’t improved, officials called it a day.

“It was to be a 12 o’clock start. It’s a little delayed but it happens a lot,” said Lettsome who faced the same scenario during the ISAF World Youth Championships in Poland, July 13-20. “There’s breeze now but just waiting for it to be steady. Everyone is trying not to get anxious, don’t waste any energy and stay relaxed.”

Lettsome said he’s a ‘pretty relaxed person’ when asked how he deals with these types of situations. “I don’t even call it situations,” he said. “I’m just cooling. I’m chilling out. It’s just another thing you need patience for, no big deal.”

Lettsome said he came to sail and Monday’s scheduled reserve day, which will now become a race day, is normal for him and a lot of his colleagues.

“It’s not like anything else planned so it’s not really an issue,” he stated. “It would be nice if we have a full day off but if we have to sail, it’s no problem, just get ready for it the night before – do the same as you do every day. If it’s very windy the day after the rest day and the day of the rest day, that might change a little bit for you. I recover the day of the rest day, but it doesn’t really change anything much. “

He said he would have liked 9-10 knots of breeze to start the competition, relatively flat, and steady-ish breeze with some shifts. “No big breeze or anything for the first day,” he said.

As sailors, Coach Alec Anderson said, you can’t let the situation get to you. “This is the sport we play and you have to wait for the wind sometimes,” he said. “Keep cool, keep calm, stay in the shade, eat plenty of food, drink plenty of water and be ready to rumble when it happens. This is just part of the game.”

BVI Olympic Committee President Ephraim Penn and Secretary General Lloyd Black, took the three-hour trek from Lima to Paracas. “Well, it looks like the wind was not cooperating, but, it’s all good,” Penn said. “We got to see the guys and got to see the preparations, got to see the whole operation, how much it takes to get prepared and ready to go out there, so it’s an experience for me.”

Additional Pan Am Games reports and interviews with Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway, will be carried on CBN 90.9 FM at 5.00 p.m. through August 5th and then at 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., from August 6 – 11. There’s a 9 a.m. wrap up on Aug 12.