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55th Governor's Cup Day 3

by Susan Kenney 28 Jul 22:05 PDT July 25-30, 2022
Team Petersen (USA) on day 3 of the 55th Governor's Cup © Longpré Photos

Jeffrey Petersen (USA) and Jordan Stevenson (NZL) secure semifinal slots; five teams in contention for the other two

Jack Egan (USA), Robbie King (GBR), Morgan Pinckney (USA), Will Sargent (AUS), and Marius Westerlind (SWE) will fight it out on Friday in the remaining three round-robin 2 flights

Jeffrey Petersen (USA) of host Balboa Yacht Club, defending GovCup champion, and the newly crowned Youth Match Racing World Champion, had a four-point margin going into Day 3 of the double round-robin series. Today he was not on the same winning pace as Tuesday and Wednesday, but his Golden State Match Racing Team managed enough wins to assure going forward to Friday's semifinals, even with three more flights to be raced tomorrow in round-robin 2 (RR2).

As is often the case, once an individual or team has qualified for a playoff round, they lose a bit of their mojo when facing another team that has yet to qualify — due to incentive, if nothing else.

Petersen was not mathematically qualified for the semis until mid-afternoon. His team lost two matches today to two of their possible semifinal opponents, Jack Egan (USA) and Marius Westerlind (SWE), both of which proved to be crucial wins for those teams to keep their semifinal hopes alive.

Early co-favorite Jordan Stevenson (NZL) has returned to the form that made him arguably the best youth match racing skipper in the world in 2019 — before Covid travel restrictions, graduation from the University of Auckland, and starting a corporate finance career, all of which have cut into his sailing. Stevenson & Co. were undefeated today, and are in sole possession of second place, one point behind Petersen.

Overall Petersen has 15 wins, Stevenson 14, Egan 12, and Westerlind is now tied with Will Sargent (AUS) on 10 wins. Morgan Pinckney (USA) is tied with Robbie King (GBR) on nine wins. While obviously Egan could most easily move up to the semis, any of the teams with 9 or 10 wins could mathematically end up in the semis at the end of the round-robin phase on Friday.

The first-to-win-three-races semifinals will get under way later Friday afternoon and conclude Saturday with the finals (also first-to-win-three) following.

Andy Rose (USA), chair of BYC's GovCup Steering Committee, and a member of the Selection Committee, has been saying since Monday that he believes this field to be the most evenly matched in GovCup history. "Tomorrow, it will be fascinating to see who the other two semifinalists will be, whether Jeffrey can return to form, and whether Jordie's [Stevenson] fast charging team can keep up their amazing momentum. I do think that Petersen, given his spectacular record over the last two years in winning the U.S. Youth Matching Racing Championship, and now the Worlds, plus last year's GovCup, he is likely to return to form on Friday — in large part because of his talented and highly experienced crew, Max Brennan and Scott Mais. Regardless, Stevenson and the other two eventual semifinalists will be battle hardened."

Under the rules, the leader at the end the round-robin phase gets to choose which of the other three will be their semifinals opponent. It can be a significant advantage; on Friday both Petersen and Stevenson will be vying for that right in the final three flights of RR2.

Today, the breeze was lighter than Days 1 and 2, which featured typical thermal conditions with the wind slowly shifting to the west and increasing to 13-14 knots through the afternoon. The wind was from the south, 6-9 knots, with small oscillating shifts, emphasizing tactics over boat speed — which was equal among the teams making for very close racing, and not just a few apparent upsets. Happily, the "GovCup22" sloops provided to the teams (designed by Balboa YC Staff Commodore Alan Andrews) perform well in a wide range of conditions, including today's lighter breeze — typical for Newport Beach in summer. Similar conditions are expected for Friday and Saturday. The light, lively boats allowed for six flights to be easily completed.

The complete standings after Day 2 are below, courtesy of Live coverage of the Governor's Cup by BYC's "GovCup TV" team will include pre-race morning shows hosted by 12-time America's Cup veteran manager Tom Ehman at 09:00 PDT/ 16:00 UTC through Saturday. The semifinal and final racing will be livestreamed Friday and Saturday, July 29-30, starting at 11:30 PDT / 18:30 UTC both days. A press conference with the semifinal skippers and crews will air Friday at 18:30 hours, with the finalists on Saturday at 16:45 PDT / 23:45 UTC. All live coverage will be streamed on the Balboa YC YouTube channel and the BYCGovCup and BYC Facebook pages. You can watch live or on demand at a later time.

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