Sailing champions

Sailing champions

Sailing champions

RHS dominated the podium at the RYA Youth National Championships, held in Pwllheli, Wales during the Easter holidays. Sebastian Kempe, Yr 12, current World Youth Champion, came first in the ILCA6 class, followed by Thommie Grit, also Yr 12. Third place went to Will Pank, age 19, who left RHS last year. Nicole Stovell, who joined RHS in January from Bermuda, came 1st in the ILCA 6 female class.  

Sebastian and Nicole, both from Bermuda, now go on to represent their country at the World Sailing Youth World Championships in the Netherlands this summer, with Thommie representing Great Britain. 

Ed Sibson, Director of Sailing at RHS comments; “It is wonderful to see the strength of sailing in our current sailing programme and I was really proud to see them all on the podium. These pupils work incredibly hard to combine their academics with their sail training and we all look forward to following their progress in the World Championships this summer.” 

We spoke to our three podium sailors and asked them how they thought the competition went. 

Nicole Stovell: “It went really well for me; my competitors were very focussed so at times it was really challenging. I had to stay very consistent, consolidate and work really hard to keep ahead. It was my consistency of being in the top five that secured me the win. It also helped me relax in the last couple of races when I knew I had a strong lead; I tried my best, had fun and kept the gap I needed to place first.” 

Sebastian Kempe: “After the first race I was in second place; that race didn’t really go the way I had planned it. After that I won five races in a row, really putting the pedal to the metal and securing as many race wins as I could. I made a few mistakes in the next couple of races, but then fought back and really turned it around, coming top in the last few closing races of the regatta. You have to take every race as it comes; nothing is guaranteed in this sport and every race is an opportunity for someone to beat you. It doesn’t matter where you were in the last race, what matters is that you come back and perform at your best and hit that reset button.” 

Thommie Grit: “It was great to have both Seb and Will there racing with me; we've known each other for a while and there were multiple races where we took 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions. We would talk between races, and even chat on the water as we raced at the front of the pack. It’s great to train with all these other top sailors throughout the year at RHS; we really push each other up and it really shows at these events.”