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Kempe leading charge in Mexico

Flying the flag: Team Bermuda at the Optimist North American Championships

Bermuda’s junior sailors continued to punch above their weight during yesterday’s penultimate day of the Optimist North American Championships in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.

The island’s ten-strong team have excelled in the developmental Optimist dinghy with Sebastian Kempe, Christian Ebbin, Magnus Ringstead, Laura Hupman, Aiden Lopes and Rachael Betschart all qualifying for the gold fleet and remaining team members Millie Lewis, Ava Adams, Ahzai Smith and Ethan Edmunds qualifying for the silver fleet.

Leading the charge is Kempe who is second in the overall fleet of 149 sailors from 14 countries. Ringstead is in tenth, Ebbin in 20th, Lopes in 49th, Hupman is 56th and Betschart 68th.

Stephen Baker, of the United States, holds a comfortable lead at the top of the leaderboard. There are 75 sailors competing in the gold fleet.

Smith leads the local contingent competing in the silver fleet in sixth followed by Lewis in thirteenth, Edmunds in 19th and Adams in 27th. There are 74 sailors competing in the silver fleet.

Darcey Betschart, the Bermuda team leader, said the “hard work” that the young sailors have put in over the past two years is beginning to pay off.

“Awesome results for Team Bermuda,” Betschart said. “We have two sailors who we expected to be in the top ten and it appears we may get three in the top 20. Our sailors have grown incredibly in the past 12 months and Bermuda hasn’t seen these kind of results for a couple of years.

“This is the product of a hard working team over the past 18 to 24 months. Kids who consistently work at their sport, train hard and balance this with school working with an exceptional coach [Pablo Weber].”

Bermuda were also represented in the North American Team Racing Championships on Thursday by two teams which saw the US make a clean sweep of the podium.

Team Bermuda 1, comprised of Kempe, Ringstead, Ebbin, Hupman and Smith, bowed of the sudden death elimination competition after losing to Cayman Islands in the first flight.

Team Bermuda 2, consisting of Betschart, Lopes, Lewis, Adams and Edmunds, coped a bit better as they beat Puerto Rico in the first flight to reach the quarter-final flight where they lost to USA 3.

The Nations Cup, involving teams from outside of North America, was won by Uruguay 1, with Brazil 1 finishing second and Singapore 1 rounding off the podium in third.

The Optimist North American Championships, being hosted by the Vallarta Yacht Club, concludes today.