Andrew Lewis gets his first World Cup test as Canada’s sailing coach

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In this July 20, 2021 file photo, TT Andrew Lewis, right, competes in the men’s laser class at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Fujisawa, Japan. AP Photo –

Andrew Lewis, three-time Olympic sailor from Trinidad and Tobago, takes his first major test as head coach of the Canadian men’s laser-class team during the first leg of World Sailing’s Hempel World Cup Series in Mallorca, Spain, on Monday.

Lewis, 33, leads a contingent of six sailors – Tom Ramshaw, Fillah Karim, Ryan Anderson, Forrest Wachholz, James Juhaasz and Ben Flower – at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta; the 51st edition of the biggest European event for Olympic sailing classes.

This event is also the first key test of 2022 for nations in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Three weeks ago, Lewis announced the end of his prolific sailing career for TT, via social media. The former national sailor also revealed that he has been named coach of the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) 7 Canadian Men’s National Team.

Lewis anticipates a competitive field but thinks the World Cup opener is a welcome test.

“This is my first major event as a coach for Canada. The best in the world is here (Spain) and it’s the first time they’ve met since the Olympics last year. I’m very excited to see how my group of six Canadian athletes I work with have prepared.

“It will be the real test for my preparation as a coach as I have only been in this position since November 2021. But it will give me a good indicator of what we are looking for. We are ready, so it is time to execute said Lewis.

Prior to his final Olympic performance as an athlete in Tokyo last year, Lewis trained with Sail Canada – the national governing body for sailing – and also held talks with them to join the team.

In November, Sail Canada gave him the opportunity to work with their athletes for a three month trial. He continued and was officially named head coach on March 17.

Lewis said as a former athlete he was always able to be “served” by coaches, nutritionists and teammates for best practice and performance. He now wants to share all the information and knowledge he has acquired over the years with budding sailors.

“Now I’ve completely reversed the role, from being served to now serving. And I feel like I have so much to give due to the amount of experience I have.

“It was not difficult for me, but very exciting and fluid. I can see what makes the boat go fast, what goes wrong, tactics and all the things I know, I’m just sharing the information. It’s authentic to me.

“I’ve studied this for at least 15 years and now it’s just about sharing and giving back to the next generation of top athletes.

“It’s very cool to be on the other side (as a coach) because it makes you feel like all the hard work is paying off because now you can share it in a simpler form, at the instead of thinking and not having the answers,” he added.

Following his maiden World Cup performance as Canada’s men’s coach on Monday, Lewis and his team continue their Paris 2024 qualifying campaign at another World Cup stop in France three weeks later.

From there, the former TT sailor will lead the Canadian men’s team at the 2022 ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico from May 21-28.

Commenting on the welcome return of major international regattas, Ferran Muniesa, Technical Director of Trofeo Princesa Sofía, told Sail World: “We are delighted that the Trofeo Princesa Sofía regatta is returning in 2022 – our first regatta since 2019 thanks to the pandemic.

“Our primary concern has always been the safety of sailors and with the easing of restrictions we hope the regatta will be at full strength and once again an excellent display of sailing in stunning surroundings.”

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