LAKEWOOD’S LUTZ CLAIMS SILVER IN PAN AMERICAN GAMES
Lakewood Yacht Club racer Jay Lutz, representing the U. S. Sailing Team in the 2011 Pan American Games, won the Silver Medal during the awards ceremony held on Sun., Oct. 23.
The Pan American Games are held every four years the summer before the Olympics. Countries from Canada to the far tip of South America, including the island chain from Cuba down to Trinidad, participated in this sporting event. While Guadalajara, Mexico, held the majority of the sporting events for the Games, the sailing, beach volleyball, triathalon and long distance swim were held in Puerto Vallarta with the sailing held on Vallarta Bay in the Pacific Ocean. Lutz and his crew represented the U.S. Sailing Team in the opening ceremony, walking with the U.S. Contingency into Omnilife Stadium in Guadalajara. “Walking into sixty thousand screaming sports fans in the audience was quite a sight to behold,” reported Lutz.
Boats racing in the Pan American Games were J/24 (four man crew), Lightning (three man crew), Snipe (two man crew), singlehanded men and women on Lasers, singlehanded men and women on sailboards, and single person Sunfish. .
Racing started on Monday, Oct. 17, where Lutz stated that winds were light to moderate – 6 – 10 knots. Crewing with Lutz, who served as tactician, were his brother Jodi Lutz (skipper) from New Jersey along with racer Derek Gauger from Michigan. Scores were tallied for the six days of sailing and the top five countries qualified for the Medal Race held on Sun., Oct. 23. In the Medal Race, points counted double in a short 25 minute race. In the audience that day around Vallarta Bay were about 2,000 spectators and over 100 boats. While Team USA jumped out to a lead Tito Gonzales from Chile, Lutz’s fiercest competitor, Gonzales edged them to win the Gold Medal while Brazil finished third and was awarded the Bronze Medal.
“This was just an unbelievable experience,” related Lutz, “and Mexico did a fantastic job organizing the event. We tied the most number of medals won by the U.S. Sailing Team ever!”
Photo: Silver Medal winners Jay Lutz and brother Jodi along with racer Derek Gauger, stop for a photo while participating in the Pan American Games in Mexico in Oct.