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Governor's Cup: Four Kiwi teams in hunt for Semi-Final berth - Day 3

by Andrew Delves, RNZYS 18 Jul 2019 22:06 PDT 19 July 2019
Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) v Jordan Stevenson (NZL) - Governor's Cup Day 3, July 18, 2019 © Andrew Delves

It’s been an enthralling days racing at the 53rd Annual Governor’s Cup in Newport Beach, California, and all four Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron teams are still right in the hunt for a berth in the semi-finals.

Conditions were quite contrasting compared to yesterday, with sunshine and light winds gracing the competitors, but after a day of close racing, upsets and dramatic finishes, we are still none the wiser on who will find themselves in the top four – although Leonard Takahashi has further cemented his spot at the top.

Takahashi and his RNZYS PP Pacific Racing Team claimed four wins today, with their only loss coming against Jordan Stevenson’s RNZYS PP Vento Racing team – the second time they have lost to Stevenson this regatta. Takahashi looked a bit sketchy in a few pre-starts, but his speed around the track allowed him to get the job done and he now has 14 wins to his name – two more than second placed American Jack Parkin.

“We ended up with a four-and-one scorecard today which was exactly what we wanted. Obviously, we would have preferred five wins, but we had a really close race against our RNZYS team mate Stevenson. They sailed a really great race, they just got us pretty good in the pre start and managed to sail away with it.”

‘We went into today with the same steady the ship mindset, just keep it consistent and I think we did that today. We have a two-point lead over our other competitors with four races to go in the round robin so we’re in a good place and just need to keep pushing on tomorrow.”

Stevenson, who is relishing the “unknown underdog” tag at this regatta, was thrilled to take down Takahashi again in what was an impressive pre-start move that pinned Takahashi against the boat end of the start line – a spot which Andy Rose described as “coffin corner” - and Stevenson is quietly happy with how his team is going –

“It was awesome. We managed to get Len {Takahashi} into a bit of a pickle at the boat end of the line that gave us a few length advantage which we managed to hold onto around the track. I’m really stoked with how the team are going. Tomorrow is going to be a big day with a few other teams tied on the same points as us so we just need to keep it up and come out firing in the morning.”

RNZYS Youth Training Programme skipper Frankie Dair started the day in second place - but after losing his first two races this morning - suddenly began to slip back down the order. However, Dair, and his team that includes George Angus and Niall Malone, pulled it back to win their next three races, including the most exciting race of the day against RNZYS PP Knots Racing team helmed by Nick Egnot-Johnson.

As they sailed downwind for the last time, Egnot-Johnson was carrying a penalty – meaning that before the finish, he would either have to cause Dair to commit a foul—thereby neutralizing his penalty—or complete a 270 degree turn before the finish. In an example of world-class match racing, within a few boat lengths of the finish, Egnot-Johnson carried Dair (as the windward boat) past the finish pin end - and as both boats doused their spinnakers to return to the finish, Egnot-Johnson completed his penalty turn.”

Both boats, with jibs halfway up, sailed slowly upwind but ended up crossing the finish line in the wrong direction, requiring them to unwind their course, round the pin end to starboard, and then finish downwind. In doing so, Egnot-Johnson’s only chance to cross ahead was to try to sail between Dair and the pin end buoy. While he got there, he simultaneously hit the pin, causing another penalty, and Dair safely crossed the line ahead.

Egnot-Johnson was gutted to lose that one, but is feeling confident heading into tomorrow.

“That race was really tight, and full of penalties and confusion. Unfortunately, Frankie just got us at the end there but we’re still sailing well and we’re confident we can come out strong tomorrow.”

Frankie Dair, Nick Egnot-Johnson, Jordan Stevenson and Finn Tapper are now all tied in 3rd place on eleven points, setting up what will be an epic finish to the round robin racing tomorrow.

Results here: www.matchracingresults.com/2019/governors-cup

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