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2022 Youth Match Racing World Champion & Runner-up lead an impressive field for 55th Governor's Cup

by Susan Kenney 24 Jul 2022 21:59 PDT July 25-30, 2022
55th Governor's Cup © Susan Kenney

Twelve skippers from five countries seek prestigious title

In Tour de France cycling, the winner of each stage wears a yellow jersey. No such identification will be necessary for Jeffrey Petersen (USA), the 2021 GovCup champion from host Balboa Yacht Club, who, as of last week, is the youth match racing World Champion. "I've always preferred to be the 'underdog' going into a regatta. I guess that will be more difficult this year!" said Petersen.

Last year's 10th place Governor's Cup finisher, Marius Westerlind (SWE), obviously learned a lot over the past year as he finished second to Petersen in the Youth Match Racing Worlds completed Saturday in Pornichet, France. Westerlind is a three-time Swedish Youth MR Champion. At last year's GovCup, observers noted that, while his starts were generally good, Westerlind and his team struggled with boat speed in the Governor's Cup 22 sloops that BYC provides to each team. Given his performance in France, that is unlikely to be a problem this year.

Petersen and Westerlind will face plenty of competition in this year's fleet. One of the toughest would appear to be Jordan Stevenson (NZL)—the highest-ranked match racer in World Sailing's "Open" (non-age limited) rankings at number 12—making a return to the GovCup after a three-year absence. Given Covid travel restrictions, graduation from University and a new job, Stevenson hasn't been able to compete much since 2019. However, in that year, he arguably deserved an even higher ranking after winning two of the three most important youth MR regattas in the southern hemisphere and the U.S. Grand Slam series, a four-event series in the Midwest and Northeast against five-time U.S. Match Racing Champion, Dave Perry, and former Governor's Cup winner, Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL).

Stevenson will be joined by his countryman, Robbie McCutcheon, who won the New Zealand Youth Trials for the World Championship in France. While he had a disappointing result at the Worlds, he has proven his abilities by winning the New Zealand's Centreport Youth International Regatta, the Auckland MR Championship, and was third in the New Zealand MR Championship which is not age limited.

Teams from Australia return in force after Covid-affected years. Australia will send two teams from New South Wales and one from Western Australia. For decades the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney has sent teams to the Governor's Cup and have won numerous times— including Harry Price's two wins in 2015 and 2018. This year the club has three well-qualified skippers. GovCup veteran Finn Tapper will crew for his younger brother Cole, and Will Sargent will steer for a different CYCA team. The three sailed in the Worlds with Finn steering. Can Cole outdo his brother in the Governor's Cup, or will Sargent, the first competitor from the Australian state of Tasmania, be the new star?

Marcello Torre will lead a team from another club with a rich GovCup history—the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, in Perth, Western Australia. The "Royal Freshie" has produced such winners as Sam Gilmour (2013 and 2014) who, with his father and brothers, represent perhaps the most decorated match racing family in the world.

The British also return to the GovCup after a Covid-related absence. Two-time UK youth MR champion, Robbie King, will lead his team in their first Governor's Cup. He didn't have to go far to get to the Balboa YC as he is currently a PhD student at California Institute of Technology ("CalTech") in Pasadena. Like many of his competitors, King is also a champion team racer.

The U.S. contingent brings a great deal of experience to the event led by the return of Morgan Pinckney of Newport Harbor Yacht Club to the Cup who, at 17, will again be the youngest competitor. Pinckney was third last year, and in June won the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup. Like Petersen, he will no longer be a "surprise" performer in 2022.

2021 U.S. Intercollegiate Champion and Governor's Cup veteran Jack Egan of San Diego Yacht Club will sail in his second GovCup, as will 2021 GovCup semi-finalist Porter Kavle from Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis, Maryland. Both will try to move up the leaderboard this year. Ansgar Jordan of Coronado Yacht Club in San Diego will return for his second GovCup after an impressive intercollegiate career at Tufts University, from which he was just graduated.

BYC's GovCup TV Team will again provide extensive live coverage, beginning Monday evening at 20:00 PDT (03:00+1 UTC) with the traditional opening "Meet the Teams" ceremony (that follows the welcome dinner at which 300 guests are expected). Wednesday through Saturday pre-race "Morning Shows" including the daily briefing from race officials and selected crew interviews will be held at 09:00 PDT / 16:00 UTC. Live racing coverage airs Friday and Saturday at 11:30 PDT / 18:30 UTC. Friday evening a press conference with the four semi-finals skippers will air at 18:30 PDT / 01:30+1 UTC. The final press conference and awards ceremony will also be covered live at 16:45 PDT / 23:45 UTC. All the foregoing will be live-streamed, and available for later viewing on demand, on both the Balboa Yacht Club YouTube channel as well as the Governor's Cup Facebook page.

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