Hard work to pay off at World Championships
Pablo Weber hopes all of the hard work that Bermuda’s sailors have put in culminates in success during next week’s Optimist World Championship being held in Antigua for the first time.
Bermuda are being represented by a five-member team comprised of Sebastian Kempe, Christian Ebbin, Magnus Ringsted, Laura Hupman and Nicole Stovell who are among a record fleet of 259 sailors from 65 countries, the largest assembled at the annual championship.
Kempe, Ebbin and Ringsted are the only survivors from Bermuda’s team that competed at last year’s Optimist World Championship in Cyprus while Hupman and Stovell are both making their debuts at this level.
“The team have been working hard this year both on and off the water,” Weber, Bermuda’s high-performance coach, said.
“They have had some good results coming into Antigua and I hope they can continue to gain strength and confidence as the regatta progresses.”
While she admits the competition will be “fierce”, Dede Cooper, the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association vice-president, still believes Bermuda’s sailors all have the potential to finish among the top 50 overall.
“Christian, Magnus and Sebastian have all done a World Championship before and there is a high expectation that this could be Bermuda’s best chances for a top-50 finish,” she said. “Competition is fierce, though, as this is the largest World Championship ever.”
Kempe produced Bermuda’s best showing of fourteenth in the Silver Fleet at last year’s championship in Cyprus.
Bermuda’s sailors have arrived on the Caribbean island way ahead of the start of the championship to try and come to grips with the challenging conditions they will encounter in English Harbour.
“The team has gone early to get acclimated to the expected unfamiliar conditions of strong winds and big waves,” Cooper said. “The extra days should put them in good stead for the start of racing.”
Heidi Ringsted, the team leader, said final preparations in Antigua have been “going well”.
“The sailors have been training hard in advance of the championship, practising daily with different countries working on boat speed and understanding the prevailing conditions,” she added. “They have also worked extremely hard on their fitness, knowing that two weeks sailing in challenging conditions in Antigua will require maximum strength and resilience.
“We have not yet seen the anticipated conditions of large waves and strong breeze. But the breeze has built steadily all week and has settled in around 18 knots.”
The Optimist World Championship, being hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club, consists of an individual fleet racing and a team racing event and will take place from July 6 to 16.
The championship will commence with the opening ceremony on Sunday, with racing begin the following day.