Royal Hospital School Pupils Crowned Sailing Champions

The Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Ipswich, is celebrating after its pupils dominated the podium at the RYA Youth National Championships, held in Pwllheli, Wales.

Year 12 student, Sebastian Kempe who is the current World Youth Sailing Champion, came first in the ILCA6 class, followed by Thommie Grit (also Year 12). Third place went to Will Pank (19) who left the school last year. Nicole Stovell, who joined RHS in January from Bermuda, came first in the ILCA 6 female class.

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

Ed Sibson, Director of Sailing at RHS said: “It is wonderful to see the outstanding level of sailing ability in our current cohort of pupils across the whole school. To see three of our pupils take their well-deserved place on the podium was a real honour. These pupils work incredibly hard to combine their academic work with their sail training and we all look forward to following their progress in the World Championships this summer.” 

Nicole Stovell, RHS student and ILCA 6 female class winner, said: “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, RHS student, World Youth Champion and winner of the ILCA6 class, said: “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 sail to the wind, and securing as many race wins as I could.

“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, student at RHS and runner up in the ILCA6 class, said: “It was great to have both Seb and Will Plank (third place) there racing with me; we’ve known each other for a while and there were multiple races where we took first, second and third positions. 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.”

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