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56th Governor's Cup at Balboa Yacht Club - Day 1

by Susan Kenney 25 Jul 2023 23:19 PDT July 24-29, 2023
Jeffrey Petersen (USA) - 56th Governor's Cup © Tom Walker Photography

A betting man would have picked Jeffrey Petersen (USA) as a favorite in the 56th Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted by Balboa Yacht Club and presented by Disc Sports and Spine Center and the Call of the Sea Foundation. That the bet would have been a good one. BYC's Petersen is the home-town favorite having won the GovCup in 2021, and is currently the World Youth Match Racing Champion. He went undefeated today in the first day of the Round Robin phase of the five-day championship.

In the past, Petersen and his friend, and frequent crew Max Brennan (USA) had never felt confident in their boat speed in light air like the 5-7 knots they had today. Petersen said, "We focused on sailing clean and fast so were able to win even though a couple of our starts were sketchy, and we picked the wrong end of the leeward gate twice. But Max and Enzo were awesome not only on calling shifts, but their crew work was flawless."

Enzo Menditto (USA) is a teammate with Petersen on the Georgetown University sailing team, and has never match-raced before today.

Picking the favorites from the rest of the fleet was difficult given that, unusually, eight of the twelve teams are sailing in their first GovCup. Despite that lack of experience, all are great sailors and hold at least one national championship in their respective home countries — several more than one.

Predictably, there is a three-way tie for second among Justin Callahan (USA), Josh Hyde (NZL), and Cole Tapper (AUS), all with 4-2 records. Tapper, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is one of the top young match racers in Australia and was recently crowned Australian Youth Match Racing Champion. He started the day well at 4-0, but then had a loss to fellow Sydney-sider Max Paul (AUS) from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, which must have stung. Then, in a slight upset, he lost to Canadian Intercollegiate match-racing champion, Alec Coleman (CAN) from the West Vancouver YC.

Today this year's second and third youngest competitors came on strong as Justin Callahan (USA), two-time podium finisher in the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championships for the Rose Cup, had a good day in his first GovCup, including beating his arch-rival and good friend, Morgan Pinckney (USA).

Josh Hyde (NZL), representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, started slowly but finished strong despite his modesty at the Monday night "Meet the Teams" opening dinner and show. Hyde said, "We are just pleased to be here, plan to learn a lot, and come back next year!"

Round-robin racing continues tomorrow, Wednesday 26 July. In the RRs each of the twelve teams race the other eleven twice, for a total of 22 matches. At the end of the RRs, the top four teams advance to the Semis on Friday, with the Finals on Saturday.

Both Friday and Saturday, live TV coverage begins at 11:30a PDT (18:30 UTC) on the GovCup Facebook page and the Balboa Yacht Club YouTube channel.

GovCup TV also produces live pre-race "Morning Shows" daily at 9:00a PDT, and will air the Semis press conference after Friday's racing at 7:00p, and the Finals press conference and Awards Ceremony Saturday at 5:00p.

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