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Balboa Yacht Club announces change of date and rule modification for 2021 Governor's Cup

by Susan Kenney 20 Oct 07:22 PDT 26-31 July 2021
Governor's Cup 22s head upwind during Governor's Cup. The boats were designed specifically for the “GovCup” by Alan Andrews and first used in in the 50th Anniversary Regatta in 2016. © Tom Walker

Balboa Yacht Club today announced new 2021 dates for the 54th Annual Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship sponsored by Disc Sports and Spine Center. The Cup will be held from July 26-31, 2021, instead of the former planned dates earlier in July. The Club will also host the 2021 Youth Match Racing World Championship and is awaiting approval from World Sailing to confirm August 9-14 dates for that event. The new dates for both events will maintain a one-week break between those major regattas for the all-volunteer event staff.

The Governor's Cup is the oldest youth match racing championship in the world and has produced some of the sport's leading America's Cup, Congressional Cup, Olympic and, perhaps surprisingly, Round the World Race winners. 2021 will be the second time Balboa Yacht Club has been honored by World Sailing in allowing it to host the Youth Match Racing World Championship, having first hosted the event in 2017. Teams in both events will be provided with twelve "purpose-built" "Governor's Cup 22" sloops which were first used in the 2016 50th Anniversary "GovCup". Designed by famed yacht designer and BYC member Alan Andrews, the boats are light, fast in all conditions, and feature a fractional rig, "flat top" mainsails and masthead spinnakers.

A major rule change was also approved by the BYC Board of Directors in response to the unfortunate need to cancel the 2020 Cup due to COVID concerns and restrictions. "The Selection Committee did a great job and invited a truly amazing group of 'Grade 1' level skippers for 2020 who sadly didn't get to compete this year" said Andy Rose, Chair of the "GovCup" Steering Committee. "We hope that the cancellation after 53 consecutive years of competition will never happen again but in this unusual situation, we thought it was important to try to do something for these skippers even if they miss the age deadline next year," said Rose.

The Governor's Cup Deed of Gift (originally provided by then-Governor and later U.S. President Ronald Reagan) provides that no competitor may have reached his or her 23rd birthday. The date of age determination is not in the Deed of Gift but traditionally, the cutoff date is the last day of each year's Cup. Two of this year's invitees, Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), who is the defending champion from 2019, and Ted Blowers (GBR), who would be a first time GovCup competitor, would have missed next year's deadline by a matter of weeks.

The Board of the Balboa Yacht Club approved an amendment to the Deed of Gift which will only be in effect next year. It will allow RFI's will be accepted from 2020 invitees otherwise qualified that do not meet that cutoff date. "In all other respects, the rules will stay the same as will the selection process, including the automatic invitations," continued Rose. All crew members next year must still meet the normal age limit deadline even in the case of their wishing to sail with a skipper that benefits from the rule change.

While both the skippers affected by the new rule could file RFI's, only Egnot-Johnson is assured of an invitation as defending champion (2019) if he does so. "Blowers' record is excellent, and if he continues that success and files an RFI, he too may well be invited," said GovCup Chair Christine Robertson Gribben. In addition to the defending champion's automatic invitation, the winners of the 2021 U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup, the U.S. Intercollegiate Match Racing Champion and a Balboa Yacht Club "host" representative will also be invited if each files an RFI by the deadline which, for next year, will be April 9, 2021.

"We made these changes for next year in an effort to mitigate the disappointment of all the 2020 invitees which is shared by other sailors worldwide due to widespread cancellation of championships and other events due to COVID. Now we can look ahead and plan the best ever GovCup and Worlds in 2021" said BYC Rear Commodore Paul Blank, who oversees the Governor's Cup for the BYC Board of Directors.

The Notice of Race, the event brochure and information on requesting an invitation for the 2021 Governor's Cup will be posted on the Cup's website in January, 2021.

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