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Kempe eighteenth in Antigua after opener

Sebastian Kempe

Bermuda’s sailors made a promising start during the opening day of racing at the Optimist World Championship in Antigua yesterday.

Sebastian Kempe, who is in his final year of eligibility, sits in eighteenth position two races into the qualifying series followed by Christian Ebbin in 44th and Magnus Ringsted in 60th.

Further down the standings are Laura Hupman, in 98th, and Nicole Stovell, in 153rd.

A record fleet of 254 sailors from 65 countries are competing at the championship being held on the Caribbean island for the first time.

“We had good starts but there is definitely room for improvement,” Pablo Weber, the Bermuda coach, said.

“We are confident about improving our position over the next two qualifying rounds.”

Malta’s Richard Schultheis, who won both of yesterday’s races, topped the overall standings of the championship on English Harbour. Spaniard Maria Perello led the girls fleet and was eleventh overall. 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.

The Optimist World Championship, being hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club, consists of an individual fleet racing and a team racing event and is taking place from July 6 to 16.

Meanwhile, elsewhere Benn Smith finished 128th in a fleet of 156 in the at the Laser World Championship which concluded yesterday in Miho Bay, Sakaiminato, Japan.

The Bermudian sailor produced three top 20 finishes with a best finish of second competing in the standard men’s Laser fleet.

Burton Tom, of Australia, claimed the overall title.

Smith used the championship as a warm-up for the Pan American Games to be held in Lima, Peru from July 26 to August 11.

He was granted a universality spot having narrowly missed out on securing automatic qualification at the final attempt by one spot after at the Laser South American Championships in February also held in Peru.

Siblings Cecilia and Michael Wollmann are the other sailors representing Bermuda at the Games in the foiling Nacra 17 catamaran.

Cecilia, who represented Bermuda in the Laser Radial at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, is on the helm while her sibling is serving as crew.