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Campbell Patton still in hunt at Olympic sailing qualifier

Campbell Patton (File photograph)

Campbell Patton capitalised on the windy conditions to remain within striking distance of securing a spot for Bermuda at this summer’s Olympics at the Last Chance Regatta in France on Wednesday.

The Bermudian sailor continued his consistent form in the strong winds to finish seventeenth and tenth to remain fourth in the 61-boat fleet with three races left in the ten-race qualifying series before the medal race to determine which nations will qualify for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

“Another really long day at the office today on the water waiting for the wind,” Patton told The Royal Gazette.

“We started two races that were both abandoned, both of which I was in a good position in the top five.

“Then when the wind did finally come in it was very strong and gusting more than 20 knots and my speed in those conditions is very good. I was happy with that and how I sailed today.”

Patton struggled on the run to the bottom mark, which cost him precious ground but was able to work his way back towards the front of a formidable fleet to minimise the damage and remain within touch of fulfilling his primary objective at the final Olympic qualifier.

“I missed a couple of big shifts on the down winds which left in me on the outskirts of the top ten today but I was still really pleased with my fighting,” he added. “I am fighting with the top guys and I was in the top three at the top mark in the first race.

“The wind didn’t exactly go my way but I am happy with my work today and my coach is happy with me and I will keep going out there and getting consistent results.

“We are still one race behind so we have three races scheduled for tomorrow. Three more races to go to qualify for the medal race scheduled for Friday, so I am really excited, really enjoying being here and enjoying fighting among some really experienced guys and holding my own.”

Also flying the island’s flag at the event are Sebastian Kempe and Benn Smith.

Kempe posted a 6-13 record to jump three places from 21st to eighteenth while Smith managed finishes of 25th and 39th to move up one spot from 39th to 38th.

“For me this has not been a good showing but there’s lots of racing still left to go,” Kempe said.

“Campbell is in a very very promising position, so I am going out there to do the best I can and I think he is as well to qualify the nation.

“It doesn’t matter who does it as long as you get the job done, and hopefully we can get it done.”

Korean Jeemin Ha holds a three-point advantage at the top of the standings over nearest rival Karl-Martin Rammo of Estonia.

Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy of Malaysia sits in third followed by Patton another 16 points adrift.

The eventual top ten sailors at the conclusion of the qualifying series will qualify for the medal race where points will be doubled.

The top three nations in the medal race yet to qualify will secure the three Open Olympic qualifying spots available, with the fourth and final spot going to the top sailor from the emerging nation programme.

Bermuda’s sailors must either finish in the top three to secure one of the Open spots, while a top-four finish would guarantee Kempe a qualification spot having been selected as Bermuda's Emerging Nations athlete after being the top local sailor following the 2023 World Championships in The Hague.

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Published April 24, 2024 at 8:05 pm (Updated April 24, 2024 at 8:05 pm)

Campbell Patton still in hunt at Olympic sailing qualifier

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