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Governor’s Cup 50th anniversary begins with launch of first new boat

by Andy Rose on 19 Jan 2016
Governor’s Cup 50th anniversary begins with launch of first new boat Tom Walker
The first of twelve new “Governor’s Cup 22” sloops was christened and sailed for the first time in the waters of Newport Beach, California on Saturday, January 16. Construction of the fleet is expected to be complete by June, 2016 and will be used for the first time in the 50th Anniversary Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship, which will be held at the Balboa Yacht Club from July 15-23, 2016. The Governor’s Cup is the oldest youth match racing event in the world and was founded in 1967 with a trophy donated by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.

“Gov Cup” alumni include some of the finest sailors in the world including James Spithill, two-time winning skipper of the America’s Cup, and a virtual “who’s who” of America’s Cup, Olympic and round the world race winners including nine sailors named U.S. Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and three members of the United States National Sailing Hall of Fame. The record of these alumni over the decades led to the “Pathway for Champions” motto adopted by the BYC for the Governor’s Cup in 2008.

Spithill is just one of many sailors who have sailed in both Governor’s and America’s Cups as recognized by Commodore Norbert Bajurin of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the current holder of the America’s Cup who, during a visit by the America’s Cup to the Governor’s Cup regatta in 2014, said “the Governor’s Cup is the America’s Cup for youth”.

The launch of the new boat is the first event of this year’s 50th Anniversary celebrations for the Governor’s Cup which will complement the regatta itself. With the increase in the age limit for the Cup allowing sailors through their 22nd year to compete which was adopted in late 2015, there may be as many as three past champions competing in 2016. The 50th Anniversary Cup is co-chaired by Paul Blank and Tom Purcell. Tom is the son of the founders of the Cup, Chet and Glee Purcell, and crewed on the winning team in the first three Governor’s Cups. Blank and Purcell expect many of the prominent alumni to attend an alumni regatta on Saturday, July 16, and the premiere that evening of a feature length movie produced by ESPN and NBC sailing commentator and Emmy winner, Gary Jobson.

The new boats were designed by BYC member and former commodore, Alan Andrews, an internationally recognized yacht designer. Andrews also designed the current fleet of Governor’s Cup 21’s but given advances in design techniques and materials, the new 22’s are expected to be significantly faster than the current boats which still remain one of the best boats in the world for this type of sailing.

The Newport Balboa Sailing and Seamanship Association (“NBSSA”) owns the current fleet and will own the fleet of 22’s. The funds for the construction were donated to NBSSA mainly by members of the BYC although additional funds were provided by other Governor’s Cup alumni and friends of youth sailing from as far away as Florida and New York. Contributions also included an unexpected and greatly appreciated donation from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, a perennial competitor in the “Gov Cup” over the years--and home club of the 2015 champion—in recognition of the importance of the Cup internationally.

Larry Law, president of NBSSA congratulated the BYC for its support, “I am again amazed and grateful for the support of Balboa Yacht Club members that allowed us to build these great boats and secure the Governor’s Cup reputation as the finest youth match racing regatta in the world well into the future.”

His sentiments were echoed by long time BYC member and Newport Beach resident, Jack Croul who, with his wife Kingsley, christened the first boat “King-King”, “Kingsley and I were happy to help the 2002-03 campaign but perhaps are even more excited to assist in the building of these fantastic boats.”

BYC Member, two-time Governor’s Cup winner and former America’s Cup tactician Andy Rose, who led the fundraising effort for both fleets of Governor’s Cup boats, was also proud of the many partnerships involved in the building and equipping of the boats, “This was an all-American effort with the boats built locally by Westerly Marine of Santa Ana, California, one of the finest custom boat builders in the United States with other U.S. companies providing sails, rigs, running and standing rigging and other components at substantial discounts. Our partners include: Gougeon Brothers; North Sails; Hall Spars; Samson Cordage; Harken Marine and Foam Molders of Southern California.”

NBSSA president Law added, “We also must thank BYC member Randy Moreno who has dedicated countless hours as project manager and fellow member Lewis Beery who has assisted in all facets of this project from the beginning and is also a major donor”.


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