Somers Kempe, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore, found himself in the awkward position of sending an invite to himself to compete in the Argo Group Gold Cup in October. Along with crew Adam Barboza, Will Thompson and Paul Wring, Kempe clinched the 2014 National Match Racing title in the classic International One Design sloop in Hamilton Harbour at the weekend to secure the sole spot up for grabs in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour-sanctioned event.
Kempe did so convincingly, by winning all of his round-robin matches before beating Patrick Cooper 2-0 in the best-of-three final in favourable conditions.
“It was very different that is for sure, being able to see situations from the other side of the helm, which made it kind of weird,” said Kempe, who has previously won multiple national titles in the IOD, but never before as a helmsman. “It was fun.”
The RBYC commodore cited an experienced crew as one of the keys to the team’s success. “Every member has sailed an IOD, so they know what is required,” Kempe said. “We just went out and did what was required. The majority of the people on the boat have also sailed together for quite some time,”
Having secured qualification to this year’s Gold Cup, Kempe is now looking forward to mixing it up with the world’s elite match-race sailors.
“I just sent myself an invite, ironically,” he said. “I am looking forward to sailing in the Gold Cup as a skipper, which should be fun.”
Cooper, who sailed with crew David Hillier, Richard Neame and Robert Zuill, pipped Pete Ramsdale on a head-to-head tie-break to reach the final after both teams completed the round-robin stage with one win apiece.