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Ebbin revels in Optimist triumph

Full of promise: Amelia Lewis, left, and Christian Ebbin, both aged 13, produced superb performances at the Bermuda Open and National Optimist Championship on the Great Sound last weekend(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Just when you thought that Christian Ebbin’s year could not get any better it just did.

The 13-year-old Somersfield Academy student captured his second major title in three months after winning the Bermuda Open and National Optimist Championship for the first time last weekend.

Ebbin reeled off ten-top three finishes, including six firsts, in the 12-race series on the Great Sound to place 17 points ahead of nearest rival and compatriot Sebastian Kempe at the top of the pecking order.

That success came on the back of his triumph at the Volvo Gill Optimist British and Open Championships in North Wales in August.

“It feels good to be the national Optimist champion for the first time and it was fun,” Ebbin said.

“I came really close last year [second among local fleet and eighth overall] and just lost it in the last race, so maybe it was just the experience and minimising the mistakes from last year.

“The conditions were difficult because people could just get a lucky shift and come back.

“I would have preferred to have been maybe one or two knots lighter, which is like my sweet spot.

“I feel more comfortable in the boat in certain winds, but I know I can also perform in those conditions.”

Reflecting upon his phenomenal year, Ebbin said: “It’s better than last year and just a big improvement.

“I’d just like to thank all of my coaches, my mom and dad and family members for putting me through this.”

Meanwhile, Kempe posted six top-three finishes, including three firsts to finish a distant second, while Cort Synder, of the United States, was third overall.

Magnus Ringsted rounded out the local boys’ podium and was ninth overall with a best showing of third in the final race.

Also doing Bermuda proud was Amelia Lewis, who was the top local female sailor and second overall behind winner Samara Walshe of the US.

The 13-year-old sailed consistently throughout the regatta and surpassed her own expectations with her podium display.

“It felt really good to win, but it was also quite surprising,” Lewis said. “It’s surprising because it’s kind of close between all the girls in the group. There’s like four of five girls that are always neck and neck so it’s normally really difficult to come out on top of it.”

Nicole Stovell was second in the local girls’ fleet and nineteenth overall, with Laura Hupman the third local girl, two places back in 21st overall.

UPDATE: this article has been amended to correct that it was Sebastian Kempe competing in the championship