PRESS RELEASE: When he puts his boat in the waters in Paracas, Peru on Saturday, August 3, Thad Lettsome, 17, will make history as the British Virgin Islands first Laser Sailor in its Pan American Games history.
“I’m excited and pretty motivated and all these people around me, helps me being excited about the whole thing,” said Lettsome who carried the BVI’s flag during Friday’s opening ceremony.
“I’m looking to get a good experience out of it, come back in the future and do well, but still do well this time.”
Lettsome enters the games after finishing 19th overall, during the July 14-20, ISAF World Youth Championships in Poland and has several familiar faces from the Caribbean he’ll meet here, as well as other South American counterparts.
“It makes it easier as there are people here I know, obviously, and also easier because I’m comfortable around them, I know how good they are and what they’re like,” he said.
“So, it takes away some of the nerves and jitters from not knowing who you’ll be sailing against.”
Prior to Worlds, Lettsome attended nine international events in the past year and his event is a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Among his performances, he was 22 nd of 55 competitors in the US Nationals in January, won the 88th Sailing World Cup Miami also in January, that attracted 101 participants. In the Laser Radial, he was 10th of 76 competitors in the US Laser Radial Nationals in 2018.
Lettsome was also 14th of 58 in the Youth Sailing World Championships and 4th in the Cork International Regatta in Canada, of the 125 entries. His recent sojourn to Worlds as a final tune-up he said was beneficial for Pan Ams.
“It definitely helped me with race management as I was definitely up with the top guys and it would simulate this event being with a smaller group of people,” he noted.
“So my managing of the rest of the fleet, my competition in Poland would help me a lot with race management.”
Lettsome has been working with Canadian Coach Chris Watters, who guided his development at the Royal BVI Yacht Club, but will be coached by Alec Anderson at the Pan Am Games.
“He has a good perspective because he’s almost in this situation himself and has done many events even recently, so he really knows what he’s talking about and has a good Dinghy feel and a good feel for the boat I’m sailing because he’s recently just sailing himself,” Lettsome explained.
“It’s a really new good perspective and I’m still in touch with Chris so it will be a good mix.” Lettsome will be in action August 3-10.
By Dean ‘The Sportsman’ Greenaway
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