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Four teams of RNZYS Youth Sailors to compete in Governor's Cup

by Andrew Delves, RNZYS 8 Jul 2019 23:45 PDT 9 July 2019
Nick Egnot-Johnson skippering in the Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup © Andrew Delves

The 53rd Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship is set to get underway at the Balboa Yacht Club from the 15th – 20th July, and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is going to be very well represented.

Four teams made up of RNZYS Youth Training Programme and RNZYS Performance Programme sailors will next week take to the water off Newport Beach in California, part of a very strong 12 team international line-up.

Nick Egnot-Johnson (RNZYS PP, KNOTS Racing), Leonard Takahashi (RNZYS YTP & PP Grad), Jordan Stevenson (RNZYS PP) and Frankie Dair (RNZYS YTP), with their respective teams, are heading to the warm summer climate of California in a bid to win the Governor’s Cup for the RNZYS for the first time since Will Tiller went back to back in 2009 and 2010.

Leonard Takahashi, who is a graduate of the RNZYS YTP & PP, is back with his Pacific Racing Team which includes current RNZYS PP sailors Taylor Balogh and Josh Wijohn. Takahashi has been very busy in a number of sailing disciplines recently, notably as a grinder for the Japanese Sail GP team as well as sailing in the 49er regattas in Europe as he strives to make the Japanese Olympic Team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Takahashi is also a very accomplished match racer, having won the majority of the top youth match racing regattas in Australasia. However, the Governor’s Cup is still a notch he hasn’t managed to add to his belt, having finished runner up at the previous two events -

“I’m really excited to get back into some match racing with the boys. The Governor’s Cup is one of my favourite events and I've had a lot of fun there in the past. This year we're hoping to get the monkey off our back and win the thing. We’re looking forward to getting stuck into what is a very competitive line-up.”

Nick Egnot-Johnson and his RNZYS PP KNOTS Racing Team have had a lot of success over the last year - too much to list all of their achievements - but highlights include winning the US Grand Slam, the RNZYS Youth International Match Racing Cup, and just last week the OM International Match Race Regatta in Italy.

Egnot-Johnson also had success in California earlier this year when he finished fifth at the Long Beach Yacht Club’s Congressional Cup, and he is dead keen to take on what is going to be some tough youth competition at next week’s Governors Cup –

“This year’s Governor’s Cup line-up is really strong, with some talented international youth sailors competing as well as some strong teams coming over from New Zealand. This is pretty exciting, I can’t wait to take on the best youth teams in the world.”

Egnot-Johnson will be joined by fellow KNOTS Racing and RNZYS PP sailor Sam Barnett, and by RNZYS YTP member Alistair Gifford.

Jordan Stevenson and his RNZYS PP Vento Racing Team have also been on the rise in the past year, winning the Harken Youth International Match Racing Championship in Australia and finishing runners up at the RNZYS Youth International Match Racing Cup.

Stevenson, along with his team of George Angus and Jake Erson (both RNZYS PP), have been doing a lot of training over the winter months in Auckland and are ready to take on the best the world has to offer –

“We’re stoked be heading over to the Balboa Yacht Club at the end of the week for our first Gov’s Cup. We’ve been training hard over the winter here in Auckland so it’ll be good to finally get a break from the cold. It’s definitely going to be a tough event so our goal for the week is to learn as much as we can whilst hopefully putting a couple of wins on the board.”

Frankie Dair is a member of the RNZYS’ successful YTP, but will also be sailing under the burgee of the California Yacht Club at this year’s event. Dair will be joined by RNZYS PP member Niall Malone and RNZYS YTP graduate Mathew Leydon.

Last year Dair won the Musto Youth International Regatta in Sydney and is a definite threat to win the 53rd Governors Cup title. Dair has been training a lot recently in the Squadrons Elliott 7’s and is looking forward to getting back to the States –

“I’m really looking forward to coming back home and competing at this year’s Gov’s Cup. I’ve never sailed in the 22’s so I’m excited to do some match racing in them. It is going to be a tough regatta but we’re ready to give it a good go.”

Other skippers competing at this year’s 53rd Governor’s Cup include; David Wood (USA), Cameron Feves (USA), Matt Whitfield (UK), Mans Holmberg (SWE), Jeppe Borch (DEN), Jack Parkin (USA), Finn Tapper (AUS) and Clare Costanzo (AUS).

Racing will be sailed in the Balboa Yacht Clubs’ fleet of identical ‘GovsCup 22’ sloops.

The event will open with the ‘meet the skippers’ dinner on the 15th July. The racing then begins with a double round-robin series from July 16th – 18th with the top four teams advancing to the Semi-Finals July 19th, and the Finals to be held on the 20th July.

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