Bermuda eliminated from team event in Antigua
Bermuda bowed out of the team racing event at the Optimist World Championship in Antigua yesterday.
The island’s young sailors went into the double elimination event ranked third among the 44 countries based on their results during the six-race qualifying series.
Bermuda, who competed on the Bravo Course in 15-17 knot breezes, received a bye in the first round and then got their campaign off to a poor start after losing to Peru in their opening race. Victory against Poland in their second race got the team’s bid back on track.
However, their hopes of advancing through to the finals today were dashed after suffering their second loss to world champions Thailand.
“Team Bermuda had some tough competition today,” Pablo Weber, the Bermuda coach, said. “We need to get more team racing exposure to improve.”
Bermuda is being represented at the championships by a five-member team comprising Sebastian Kempe, Christian Ebbin, Magnus Ringsted, Laura Hupman and Nicole Stovell.
Although the island’s team title hopes are over, they remain on course for their best showing in more than decade in the individual fleet racing championship, which resumes in English Harbour tomorrow.
Kempe is fourth overall and will look to make further inroads competing in the Gold Fleet along with team-mate Ebbin, who sits in eighteenth.
Ringsted (67th) and Hupman (110th) are competing in the Silver Fleet and Stovell (202) in the Emerald Fleet.
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.
Olympic sailor Jesse Kirkland produced the island’s best showing to date of second at the 2003 Optimist World Championship, while Anfossi James finished fourth at the 2007 event.
Italian Marco Gradoni, the two-times defending champion, leads a record fleet of 254 sailors from 65 countries that are competing at the Optimist World Championship being held in Antigua for the first time.