Newly appointed Canadian national men’s laser-class coach Andrew Lewis and his four-man team are gearing up for their first major international event in Mallorca, Spain, from April 1-9.
The 51 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia event is part of World Sailing’s 2022 World Cup Series and serves as a qualifying meet for the World Sailing Championships in Canada (August 31-September 5).
Lewis, who was named Sail Canada’s men laser-class coach on Wednesday, will have his first major competitive test in two weeks. He is in Trinidad but leaves on Tuesday to join his four-member athlete squad in Canada before they head to Spain.
Before his third and final Olympic performance for TT in Tokyo last year, Lewis trained with the Canadian national team ahead of the games.
There, he held discussions with Sail Canada’s High Performance director Mike Milner. After the Olympics, talks continued, and Lewis was offered a three-month probation period in November.
Lewsi said, “We have been working very hard since last year November, redeveloping the team and even bringing it back together in some instances.
Although the Mallorca leg of the World Cup Series is Lewis’s first top-flight regatta as a coach, it’s not his first leading the Canadian national team.
“This is going to be our first major competition of the season and the first major one for me as a coach.
“(But) we had two competitions thus far where I led the team on the North American circuit this year. We have had, so far, silver (medal) in Fort Lauderdale and a gold and silver in Clearwater.
“It’s off to a good start, I’m excited and I’m just open to learning and soaking it all in. There’s a lot of travelling. The World Championships in Mexico later on this year is our peak event. The plan is to put everything in and let’s see how it goes,” said Lewis.
Training under Lewis is two-time Canadian Olympian Tom Ramshaw, as well as the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) 7 athletes from Sail Canada Development Squad.
When Sail Canada confirmed Lewis’ appointment on Wednesday, he also called it quits on his lengthy athletic career.
Asked if he thinks the local sailing community and its future athletic prospects may have missed out on a golden opportunity to secure his services as national coach, Lewis said his exploits with the Canadian national team may inspire positive change.
“I have been hinting and saying that I will always be ready to lead (TT), assist and guide, but I am not doing it where they ‘have to hire me.’ If we cannot have these discussions as a group and team and they cannot see the value which I can offer, maybe it requires me to have to leave to see international value before I come back and be valued here.
“No hard feelings. If I can do the same thing here, it is possible. It will start at a much lower level to get where we need to be going.
“It will take a lot of time before we get another Andrew Lewis. But it’s always possible. It’s if the leadership wants it, is the question,” he added.
Lewis confirmed that he has not signed any contract with Sail Canada but they came to an agreement.
“I like to create agreements, not be tied to contracts. I don’t need job security; I need alignments and agreements with people who are interested in working hard.
“This job has opened a lot of doors around the world for me. With how things have been unfolding, I believe it’s going to be a long-term agreement and I cannot tell you when this (role as coach) will end.”