Community engages in sports at inaugural BVI Beach Games

A cross section of the Virgin Islands’ community attended the inaugural BVI Beach Games which was hosted by the BVI Olympic Committee and four national federations at Brandywine Bay beach on June 27, 2021.

In keeping with the tag line, “Unity through Sports”, residents of all ages and abilities took advantage of the opportunity to try the free sporting activities presented by rugby, volleyball, football and sailing and joined in a pick-up game or registered a team to take part in mini tournaments.

“The feedback from all involved with organising this first BVI Beach Games is positive,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee. “While we had hoped that more people would have joined in, we understand that many had changed their plans to come to the beach when they woke up to rain showers in the early morning. Overall, we’re pleased with the event and feel it was a success with a good uptake of the sports that were on offer.”

“This is such a great day! We were a bit put off by yesterday’s rain but so glad that we decided to come out and bring the kids to have fun at the beach. We’re really enjoying the whole thing, including the food!” said one participant attending with her husband and two children.

The BVIOC’s primary mission in facilitating the games is to stimulate the community’s interest in engaging in sports and getting physically active but the ultimate goal is sports development and to foster interest and growth in the disciplines that are played as a competitive beach sports at regional and international level.

“Rugby has already sent national teams to compete in Florida and elsewhere. As the other national federations see an increase in interest from their members in playing competitively in the beach version of their sport, there’s potential to develop national teams that could then play against our neighbours from the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico who would be invited to join in the winter 2022 edition,” said Penn. “The mid-term target is to host the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 as a sports tourism product provided the COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable.”

The BVI Beach Games included music by DJ Cuffy, fundraising cash bars run by the federations for rugby, volleyball and football, food for sale by Brandywine Estate and ice cream by Icy Treats. Recycling of disposables was managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network was also set up as a charitable community out-reach element.

The June edition was made possible through collaboration between the BVIOC and volunteers of the 4 national federations and was sponsored and supported by ZBVI Radio, Nagico Insurance Ltd, Roadtown Wholesale Ltd distributors of Coca Cola products Dasani water and Powerade, VISAR, Public Works Department and Solid Waste Department.

The beach games took place the weekend after the traditional symbolic Olympic Day run, walk and cycle events held on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke on Saturday, June 19.

More photos of the event can be viewed on the BVIOC page on FaceBook

BVIOC to host Olympic Day runs and inaugural BVI Beach Games

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with member national federations will host the first community BVI Beach Games at Brandywine Bay Beach from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday, June 27, 2021.

The BVI Beach Games is an initiative that was first introduced at the BVIOC AGM by the BVI Rugby Football Union as a potential community event following the successful beach rugby and CrossFit fundraiser they organised in November last year.

Working with the national federations for rugby, volleyball, football, sailing and triathlon as well as Castaways CrossFit, the BVIOC is facilitating a community-oriented event aimed at encouraging residents of all ages to try a sport and get active.

The day will feature mini tournaments, pick-up games and an opportunity for anyone to try the aforementioned sports.

“These inaugural games will feature sports that already have a beach version so we know that the land based events are suited to be played in sand,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are excited to have a fun, healthy and physically active family-oriented event in a safe, outdoor space where the community can get together while maintaining their social distance in keeping with current protocols.”

The BVI Beach Games will include music entertainment, bouncy castles, food and ice cream for sale by Brandywine Estate Restaurant and Icy Treats as well as a bar. Recycling of disposables will be in effect and managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network will be set up as a charitable community out-reach element of the day.

The event will be the first of two annual beach games planned with the second beach games to be hosted in November 2021.

“The long term goal is to develop these disciplines that are already played as beach sports competitively at regional and international level with a view to inviting our neighbours in the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico in the winter of 2022 and hosting the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 provided COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable,” said Penn.

This event will take place the weekend after the traditional 1 or 2-mile Olympic Day run/walk on Saturday, June 19 in collaboration with the BVI Athletics Association and starting at 7:00am (registration at 6:30am) from the A.O. Shirley Grounds, Tortola and a 3-mile walk/run managed by the Road Runners’ Club and starting at 6:00am from the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Virgin Gorda. Cyclists are also welcome to join an Olympic Day ride in VG which will depart from the college at 6:00am.

Attendees at both the Olympic Day events and the BVI Beach Games will be required to observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand sanitising while at the event.

4 new National Champions crowned following BVI Dinghy Championships 2021

18 sailors took to the water on Saturday 15 May for the 2021 edition of the BVI Dinghy Championships and 4 new National Champions were crowned .

It was a tricky day on the water for everyone. As squalls danced their way down the channel the mark boat team were kept busy shifting the marks to keep the race track stable and the sailors were kept on their toes to make the best tactical decisions.

In the Laser Radial class, Max Reshetiloff claimed a clean sweep of first place finishes to take his first title in the class. In second place was Dwayne Palmer and in third place, competing at her first ever regatta, Marentia de Villiers.

The RS Feva class mixed things up with all three crews wining at least one race. The first race went to Eddie & Ashley Brockbank, Kael Chalwell and Nici Haycraft snagged the next three whilst Victoria Rowlette and Savion James clinched the final two. Overall Chalwell and Haycraft took the win on 8 points, the Brockbanks were second and Rowlette and James, who shared the helming duties through the day, came in third.

The Optimist fleet was unfortunately just two boats. A big well done goes to Jake Richardson who began learning to sail less than a year ago and was competing in his first ever regatta. The overall winner was Zaed Chalwell.

Seven boats competed in a very competitive Laser class with all sailors posting mixed results, it clearly showed that consistency pays. The overall winner was Colin Ratbun who took the bullet in four of the six races. Adding a third from the final race he finished with 7 points. In second place was the winner of race one who didn’t count a finish below third, Sam Talbot.

Coming home third was the the winner of the final race, Ollie Alsop who added two seconds, a fourth and a sixth to his final tally. Fourth place was Mike Hirst, just one point back from Alsop. Graham Stanton came in fifth, Samuel Allen sixth and Chris Haycraft seventh.

Some very tired sailors came off the water with the winners presented with unique BVI made model boat trophies. The winners in each class will be added to the perpetual trophy on display at the Yacht Club.

For Facebook account holders, click here for more photos and click here for a video from Dean ‘The Sportsman’ Greenaway.

Results
Laser

  1. Colin Rathbun – 7pts
  2. Sam Talbot – 11 pts
  3. Ollie Alsop – 15 pts
  4. Mike Hirst – 16 pts
  5. Graham Stanton – 23 pts
  6. Samuel Allen – 24 pts
  7. Chris Haycraft – 29 pts

Laser Radial

  1. Max Reshetiloff – 5 pts
  2. Dwayne Palmer – 11 pts
  3. Marentia de Villiers – 14 pts

RS Feva

  1. Kael Chalwell & Nici Haycraft – 8 pts
  2. Eddie & Ashley Brockbank – 9 pts
  3. Victoria Rowlette & Savion James – 11 pts

Optimist

  1. Zaed Chalwell
  2. Jake Richardson

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.

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!