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Sebastian Kempe sails into gold fleet after stunning day in Mallorca

Competitors in the Ilca 7 fleet in the Princess Sofia Trophy in Spain

There have been contrasting fortunes for three Bermudian sailors at the prestigious Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Palma, Mallorca.

With the countdown to qualify the country for the Olympics in Paris this summer, Sebastian Kempe, Campbell Patton and Benn Smith have travelled to Spain to compete against 190 of the world’s best Ilca 7 sailors.

After two days of racing it is Kempe who is leading the Bermuda charge, qualifying for the gold fleet after two fantastic finishes of second and sixth in the two qualifying races on the second day.

Those results, combined with finishes of thirteenth and 20th, with the worst finishing position dropped, means Kempe is in sixteenth on 21 points and has made it into the top third of the field, much to his delight as he is still new to the boat.

“This has probably been my best day in the Ilca 7 fleet and all week has been good,” Kempe said.

:Every day I’m learning and gaining confidence. I’m comfortable sailing with these guys and I know their tendencies. I’m enjoying racing as I haven’t sailed in Ilca for nearly as long as some of the guys I have been competing against, who have been racing since 2008.

The 18-year-old will now compete in two races a day, weather permitting, for the next three days against the best 65 sailors in the world. The top ten after those six races will then face off in an 11th race, which features double points, and Kempe has an outside chance of being involved in the final race of the regatta.

“I’m very competitive and always trying my best,” Kempe said. “Getting into the medal race would be invaluable experience and it’s where I want to be. If I get there terrific, if not then I will use it as a way to learn and gain confidence.

Kempe’s compatriots have fared less well, with Patton in 89th overall and heading into the silver fleet after finishes of 29th, 34th, fourteenth and 57th in his four races at the event so far.

Smith is down in 174th after a disappointing campaign, with 47th his highest position of the regatta so far. He will compete for the rest of the event in the bronze fleet.

Adriana Penruddocke, who has already secured a spot in Paris in the Ilca 6 division, is also in action and sits 49th of the 116th female competitors.

Penruddocke has produced finishes of sixteenth, 27th, 26th and 26th in her four races to date.

The Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta is the`traditional season opener for the Olympic classes circuit and the first regatta in which all ten classes compete. It is also one of only two multi-class events before the Paris Games.

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Published April 02, 2024 at 4:00 pm (Updated April 03, 2024 at 8:08 am)

Sebastian Kempe sails into gold fleet after stunning day in Mallorca

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