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Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship announces revised 2021 entries

by Susan Kenney 9 Jul 12:15 PDT July 26-31, 2021
David Wood, shown edging Finn Tapper (AUS) at a start in the 2019 Governor's Cup, is a former U.S. Youth Match Racing Champion who will be sailing in his fourth Cup this year, representing Balboa Yacht Club (CA) © Tom Walker

The Balboa Yacht Club has announced the final ten skippers that will compete in the 54th Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship, July 26-31 in Newport Beach, California.

"While we regret that teams from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom will be unable to join us, this has set up a great competition between the U.S. teams and Europe!" said regatta Chair Christine Robertson Gribben. "We are thrilled to be able to hold the event this year after last year's cancellation and especially excited to see the racing between U.S. and European teams," continued Ms. Gribben, "Although the GovCup is an individual event, we are discussing putting up a prize of some sort to present to either Europe or the U.S. based on the top three finishers from each!".

The number of international teams is not unprecedented but having all of them from Europe is--with the first team from Metropolitan France joining teams from Denmark and Sweden, both countries having participated in the Cup previously. Thimoté Polet, a successful sailor in fleet and ocean racing in addition to his skills as a match racer, will represent France. Emil Kjaer from Denmark also joins the field having attained a podium finish in three separate Grade 2 match racing events in northern Europe and would have to be considered one of the favorites. Kjaer's fellow Scandinavian Marius Westerlind (SWE) will skipper in the GovCup for the first time as the 2020 Swedish Youth Match Racing Champion and will undoubtedly keep up the tradition of strong Swedish teams.

Seven U.S. teams will compete, a record since before the Cup became an international event over thirty years ago, and there are a number of natural rivalries among them. Two Balboa YC entries had already received and accepted invitations, David Wood and Jeffrey Petersen, who both grew up sailing at BYC and then teamed up for their first big match racing event, the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup in 2017, winning that event with Wood steering and Petersen crewing. Petersen turned the tables on Wood in June's 2021 USYMRC by skippering the winning team with Wood third. Second place in the Rose Cup was San Diego Yacht Club's Jack Egan who will have another chance at Wood and Petersen in the "GovCup". Egan was undefeated in the double round robin, quarter and semi-finals at Rose Cup but succumbed to the frequent "curse" of undefeated teams at that stage and lost to Petersen in the finals. Also from San Diego but representing Coronado YC, Ansgar Jordan had already accepted an invitation. Porter Kavle of Annapolis, MD who is on the sailing team at Fordham University was also invited and will compete. Egan, Jordan and Kavle are all first-time Governor's Cup skippers.

The final two invitations were issued based on finish positions in the USYMRC which this year was hosted by Rochester Yacht Club (NY). "A few of us at Balboa YC founded the Rose Cup 11 years ago and thanks to five-time U.S. Match Racing Champ Dave Perry, it became an official national championship in 2015. Our goal from the beginning was to enable young U.S. match racers to better compete against the international teams that were to an extent dominating the podium at GovCup. I think the quality of match racing at this year's USYMRC showed that we are close to achieving that goal", said Andy Rose, two-time Governor's Cup winner and Steering Committee Chair.

The fourth and fifth teams from Rose Cup were extremely competitive with the podium finishers and have also accepted GovCup invitations. Morgan Pinkney of Newport Harbor YC (CA) will, at 16, will be the youngest skipper and will be sailing in his first Governor's Cup, and Rose Cup semi-finalist Owen Lahr of Richmond YC (CA) completes the field, also as a first-time skipper. Those two competitors had equal records in the Rose Cup double round robin with Lahr getting his spot in the semis under the tie breaking rules. Both skippers notched a win against either Wood or Petersen in one of their round robin races and the rematches should be interesting!

Balboa Yacht Club and the presenting sponsor for the Cup, Disc Sports and Spine Center intend to make the event safe for all participants. Among the many features of the safety protocols are on site complementary Covid testing before and after the Cup and the availability of vaccinations for those competitors that may not have been vaccinated by the regatta. Disc founder, Dr. Robert Bray (also the Club's "Fleet Surgeon"), said "We will offer services and take every precaution we can to keep competitors, volunteers, club members and other spectators safe," said Dr. Bray, a world renown neurosurgeon with additional background in infectious diseases.

GovCup Media will continue to provide extensive live coverage of the event including streaming of the Monday night opening dinner and "roast" of the crews; morning pre-race shows Tuesday through Saturday; live streaming with expert commentary of all the racing Friday and Saturday as well as press conferences each of those evenings; and ending with the presentation of the Governor's Cup Saturday after the press conference. Coverage can be found on Facebook.com/bycgovcup.

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