Sailors Lettsome and Allen represent the VI at prestigious World Championships

BVI’s Thad Lettsome at the Hempel World Cup Series 2019. Photo copyright: Sailing energy/World Sailing

Thad Lettsome and Samuel Allen represented the Virgin Islands overseas at prestigious World Championships this month.

Thad Lettsome
17 year old Thad Lettsome’s finished in 19th position at the 2019 Youth Sailing World Championships in Poland. Lettsome posted three top 10 finishes across the nine race series, remained composed and showed good tactical skills, sticking to and executing his plan for each race.

Day three was the best day for Lettsome when winds increased to range from 12-18 knots, much less variable and building through the day. Using sound tactics and boat on boat strategy, he finished 7th in the first race of the day. With stronger winds in the final race, Thad was able to overcome being on the wrong side of the first shift and pass 14 other boats on the final upwind leg to secure ninth to place him in the top five for the day.

“It has been a really difficult regatta for me, I am one of the larger sailors in the fleet and prefer to sail in the stronger breeze which we only saw on one day. I am happy with how I worked on my tactics and starts and I know I can battle the top sailors but I still have plenty to work on,” said Lettsome.

Competing in the Laser Radial, he faced 56 other sailors from around the world in this prestigious one-sailor per nation event. It was a very challenging regatta with the wind strength under 10 knots for 7 of the 9 races leading to mixed fortunes and a high scoring regatta for all competitors.

This was Lettsome’s third time at the Championships, where he finished in 33rd place in 2017 in China and 14th in 2019 in the USA.

The Youth Sailing World Championships is the pinnacle event for youth sailors. Held annually since 1971, it is the event that highlights sailing’s future Olympic, America’s Cup and professional superstars in the sport.

Lettsome was also a part of the World Sailing Emerging Nations Program which includes a training clinic just prior to the regatta. The Royal BVI Yacht Club thanks World Sailing for their continued and valuable support for up and coming athletes.

Pan Am Games
Next up, Lettsome will join the VI’s track and field senior athltes and travel to Peru as part of the VI team competing at the Pan American Games. Awarded a Universality Place, Lettsome will compete in the men’s one person dinghy event sailing a Laser against 21 sailors from across North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. He is the first VI sailor since the 1990s to compete at a Pan Am Games which is also a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“I am eager and excited to get back into the Laser,” said Lettsome. “It will be a very different regatta [to Poland] and I’ve got the opportunity to have a go at qualifying for one of the two remaining Olympic spots for North American sailors.”

Lettsome has the additional honour of being the territory’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony. Racing will start on August 3 through to August 10.

Follow the coverage from Peru with Dean ‘The Sportsman’ Greenaway’s daily reports and radio broadcasts on CBN 90.9FM.

Samuel Allen
On 6 July, Team BVI youth sailor Samuel Allen travelled to Antigua to take part in the 2019 Optimist World Championships. 259 sailors from 65 nations took part in this prestigious event.

Allen was assigned to the Emerald fleet after the six race qualifying series. A further four races were completed after the final day’s racing was cancelled due to small craft weather warnings! Antigua certainly delivered up some Caribbean treats with conditions ranging from champagne sailing to wet, wild and windy. Unfortunately, Allen had to carry two letter scores from day two due to illness but remained committed to finish overall in 251st position.

The RBVIYC thanks team Trinidad and Tobago for their support throughout the regatta.

The Optimist class is the biggest international sailing class for youth sailors who may compete up to the age of 15. It is a notable marker that many of sailing’s greatest stars began their sailing journey in the Optimist.

White Gold For Team BVI at VIODA

By Royal BVI Yacht Club

The BVI was represented by five sailors at the 2017 VIODA regatta in St Thomas. Photo: RBVIYC

The BVI was represented by five sailors at the 2017 VIODA regatta in St Thomas. Photo: RBVIYC

The BVI was represented by five sailors at the Virgin Islands Optimist Dinghy Association (VIODA) regatta in St Thomas during the weekend of April 8 – 9.

Samuel Allen came home first in the white fleet (age 10 and younger) and Rayne Duff was third in the red fleet.

Ten races were sailed in Great Bay with a pleasant 10 to 12 knots on Saturday, decreasing on Sunday to 7-8 knots.

Samuel Allen topped the podium in the white fleet, with steady results that included his first ever bullet in the Championship fleet in race three. Finishing tenth overall is an excellent achievement since graduating from the green fleet in January this year.

Rayne Duff finished in fourth place overall and 3rd in the red fleet for sailors aged 13 and over. With two bullets and three second place finishes it was a mixed event for Duff who has won his division at the past two editions of this event.

Ryan Lettsome had a challenging weekend at his first regatta racing in the blue fleet. Lettsome finished in 18th overall with three top ten finishes. Just two places behind was Kael Chalwell at only his second regatta in the Championship fleet, his best finish a ninth in race eight.

Antonio Cisneros finished 23rd, racing in the Championship fleet for the first time and continues to make great improvements at every regatta he competes at.

VIODA is the second of the three regattas in the Triple Crown – the winners will be decided at the BVI Dinghy Championships on 20-21 May.

The RBVIYC thanks the organizers and hosts, St Thomas Yacht Club, The Moorings for the team mother-ship, and all the parents who helped with loading, unloading and meals as well as John Puig and Taylor Penwell for looking after the team for the weekend.

4. Rayne Duff (3rd red fleet)
10. Samuel Allen (1st white fleet)
18. Ryan Lettsome
20. Kael Chalwell
23. Antonio Cisneros