Lakewood's Lutz claims silver at Pan Am Games
Lakewood Yacht Club racer Jay Lutz, representing the U.S. Sailing Team, won a silver medal at the 2011 Pan American Games, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
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.
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, when Lutz stated that winds were light to moderate. 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 Sunday, Oct. 23.
In the medal race, points counted double in a short 25-minute competition. In the audience that day around Vallarta Bay were about 2,000 spectators and over 100 boats.
Team USA initially jumped out to a lead over Tito Gonzales from Chile, Lutz’s fiercest competitor. Gonzales and team, however, edged them to win the gold while Brazil finished third and was awarded the bronze.
“This was just an unbelievable experience,” Lutz said.
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 60,000 screaming sports fans in the audience was quite a sight to behold,” Lutz said.
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