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Balboa Yacht Club begins acceptance of requests for invitation for 57th Governor's Cup

by Susan Kenney 25 Jan 22:25 PST July 22-27, 2024
Jeffrey Petersen and crew with the traditional winner's lift of the Governor's Cup in 2021 and 2023. Will he be the first to win three in 2024? © Mary Longpre and Tom Walker

Balboa Yacht Club has posted all the information necessary for requesting an invitation ("RFI") for the 57th Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship, July 22-27, 2024, on the event website, www.govcupracing.com under "Race Documents". The deadline for receiving RFIs is April 12, 2024 but the Selection Committee may invite skippers who are particularly qualified at any time so interested skippers are encouraged to file an RFI as soon as possible.

The Governor's Cup is the oldest youth (under 23 years old) match racing championship in the world and includes among its "alumni", many of the finest sailors in the world led by two-time America's Cup winner James Spithill (AUS) and multiple Congressional Cup and World match Racing Tour champ Taylor Canfield (USA).

In 2023, a record eight countries were represented at "GovCup" and this year there may be more history made. The 2021 and 2023 winner, and 2022 Youth Match Racing World Champion, is BYC's own Jeffrey Petersen. Last year he joined 12 other skippers who have won two Governor's Cups. This year, he will be back in his final year of eligibility trying to be the only skipper to win three times since the Cup was founded in 1967. It will not be easy as last year's runner up Cole Tapper (AUS) is expected to attend after beating Petersen in December's Youth Match Racing World Championship.

2023's third and fourth place finishers, Morgan Pinckney (USA) and Justin Callahan (USA) are also still eligible and are prime contenders to be invited by the Governor's Cup Selection Committee. Liam O'Keefe (USA) will also be invited as a result of his winning the U.S. Intercollegiate Match Racing Championship for Brown University in late 2023. In doing so, he beat both Petersen and Pinckney. "The competition looks like it may be the best we've seen in years, and that's saying something given our history" said Governor's Cup Chair Christine Gribben.

The event will be a "Grade 3" event but after the selection of teams, the Club may reapply for retroactive re-grading given the likely quality of the invitees list. The Governor's Cup is the only youth match racing event to achieve a Grade 1 status (in 2018), a Grade usually reserved for professional events.

The Cup is sailed in identical "Governor's Cup 22" sloops provided to the competitors by the Newport Balboa Sailing & Seamanship Association. They were designed by famed yacht designer and BYC Staff Commodore Alan Andrews and feature fractional rigs, flat top mains and masthead spinnakers. They have proved perfectly suited to racing in wind speeds of as little as 4-5 knots, but also perform well and are exciting to sail in the 18-20 knot conditions seen in several previous regattas. Since they were first used in the Cup in 2016, skippers and crews have generally agreed they are among the best--if not the best—boats used in youth match racing.

Find out more at www.govcupracing.com.

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