Thad Lettsome (IVB 1701) tacking at start of a race during the New England's race event.
Photo Credit: Provided
BVI sailors Rayne Duff, Thad Lettsome and Sam Morrell left the annual August festivities behind and set out for the historic Newport, Rhode Island, USA to compete in the New England´s Optimist Regatta Championships, which took place at Sail Newport between August 7 and 9.
Some 370 sailors registered for the event with just under 50 of the sailors sailed in the green division for junior racers and the remaining 323 raced in the Red, White and Blue combined fleet which made for 4 impressive start lines of about 80 boats each.
Over the 3-day regatta the race committee managed to get in a total of 9 races with the average course from start to finish taking approximately 50 minutes for each race.
BVI sailors were among the handful of non-US sailors taking part in the event and all made a very impressive showing.
In the White division (10 years old and under), both Rayne Duff and Thad Lettsome placed with Rayne bring home the 3rd place award and Thad picked up the 5th place award in the fiercely competitive event.
In the Red Division, sailor Sam Morrell faced stiff competition, but still made an impressive showing crossing the finish line in the top 10 in 5 of his 9 races.
Director of Sailing Development at Royal BVI Yacht Club, Brain Duff said that the BVI contenders drew lots of attention because of their superior skills, tactics and speed and proved outstanding ambassadors for the Royal BVI Yacht Club´s Youth Sailing Programme which runs off Nanny Cay weekly.
He said that each sailor trains 6 to 9 hours a week and more intense training leading up to an event.
"Apart from the extremely long starting lines our BVI sailors had to grapple with the change in tidal conditions, something which sailors in the Caribbean rarely have to worry about. The continuous changing tides led to the delay of several races as it made it difficult to set an even starting line," Duff pointed out.
Prior to New Englands, BVI sailors also participated in other regattas. At the end of July, Rayne Duff participated in Opti Nationals and also the Brant Beach Regatta in New Jersey, taking awards at both events.
Early in July, Jason Putley, Sam Morrell and Thad Lettsome all attended the 2012 Worlds Optimist Championships held this year in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.
The BVI racing team is back in the BVI and sailors are preparing for the local Back to School Regatta on September 8 and 9 at Cane Garden Bay.