Kempe poised for best result in a decade
Sebastian Kempe continued to lead Bermuda’s charge on day three of the Optimist World Championship in Antigua yesterday.
The promising sailor produced impressive finishes of fourth and second in the final two races of the qualifying series contested in 15-knot breezes in English Harbour, to remain firmly on course of achieving the island’s best showing at the event in more than a decade.
Kempe sits in fourth, nine points adrift of third placed sailor Ian Walker March, of South Africa, and will look to make further inroads competing in the Gold Fleet when individual fleet racing resumes on Saturday following two days of team racing.
Kempe has been a model of consistency, his only blemish being a seven-point penalty he incurred for failing a measurement inspection of his equipment.
Also qualifying for the Gold Fleet was Christian Ebbin, who sits in eighteenth overall. Magnus Ringsted (67th) and Laura Hupman (110th) have both qualified for the Silver Fleet while Nicole Stovell (202) has qualified for the Emerald Fleet.
“All of the sailors worked hard today to secure their positions in the qualifying series,” Pablo Weber, the Bermuda coach, said.
“I was particularly pleased with the five top-10 finishes we achieved and hope they can continue to build on this when fleet racing resumes in a couple of days.”
Dede Cooper, the Bermuda Optimist Dingy Association vice-president, added: “It’s fabulous to see two Bermuda sailors in the top 20 again and excited to have Sebastian so close to the top.
“It’s been a long time coming to have two sailors in the top 20 and it’s great to see their progress.”
Bermuda Olympic sailor Jesse Kirkland produced the island’s best showing to date of second at the 2003 Optimist World Championship in Spain, while Anfossi James finished fourth at the 2007 event held in Italy.
Kempe, Ebbin and Ringsted are the only survivors from Bermuda’s team that competed at the Optimist World Championship in Cyprus last year, while Hupman and Stovell are both making their debuts at this level.
Italian Marco Gradoni, the two-times defending champion, leads a record fleet of 254 sailors from 65 countries that are competing at the championship being held in Antigua for the first time.