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57th Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship announces 2024 invitees

by Susan Kenney 28 Apr 21:39 PDT July 22-27, 2024
Left picture, (l to r), Scott Mais, Max Brennan & Jeffrey Petersen; middle picture (l to r), Jeffrey Petersen, Max Brennan & Enzo Mendotti. Will Petersen get a record 3rd win in 2024? © Susan Kenney

Fourteen skippers from five countries have been invited to the 57th Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California. The "GovCup" Selection Committee received more than three times the number of Requests for Invitation (RFIs) this year than there were places in the event.

The Cup, presented by Terry Causey and the Call of the Sea Foundation and co-presented by the Croul Family and DISC Sports and Spine Center, will feature all four of last year's semi-finalists led by returning champion, Jeffrey Petersen, 22, (USA) from the host club. 2023 runner-up Cole Tapper, 21, (AUS) will also return as will third place finisher, Morgan Pinckney, 19, (USA), and Justin Callahan, 21, (USA) who placed fourth.

"This year was the toughest we've ever had in the Selection Committee," said Christine Gribben, Regatta Chair. "We would have loved to invite everyone but that wasn't possible." The Committee did decide, however, to invite fourteen, rather than the usual twelve, given the quality of the RFIs.

In addition to Tapper, two other Australian skippers and three skippers from New Zealand will compete. Marcello Torre, 22, another returning veteran from Western Australia will be joined by Daniel Kemp, 20, from Sydney in representing the Aussies. For New Zealand, 2022 veteran Robbie McCutcheon, 22, will return this year along with Jack Frewin, 21, and Josh Hyde, 20. The latter two, plus four of the six Australian and New Zealand teams represent something of a "changing of the guard" as they all have at least one year of eligibility in the event after this year contestants must be under 23 as of the last day of the regatta.

A Danish team returns to the event after historical success with the invitation of Matias Rossing, 20. Nicolas Bernal, 22, (BRA) will return for his second and last year, after an impressive year of match racing since the last Cup.

The U.S. skippers will be led by Petersen who will be trying to make history by being the first skipper to win three Governor's Cups, having won in 2021 and 2023. BYC Governor's Cup Steering Committee Chair, Andy Rose, won two GovCups back in the day. He said, "It was tough enough to win one or two in the early days of GovCup, and much more difficult today. Only thirteen of us have won two, but Jeffrey has every chance to win his third this year making the rest of us minor footnotes in GovCup history." Petersen was also the Youth Match Racing World Champion in 2022. He and Callahan will be joined by Floridian and first-time competitor Liam O'Keefe, 21, (USA) who received his invitation by winning the U.S. Intercollegiate MR Championship in 2023 for Brown University — beating Petersen's Georgetown University in the process. The youngest-ever competitor, Siena Nichols, 15, (USA) received an invitation based on her already distinguished match racing record, including a win in the women's Mayor's Cup, in Long Beach, California. In that event she beat the fourth-ranked female match racer in the world, among others.

The fourteenth competitor will be the winner of the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup which will be held in Marblehead, Massachusetts in late June. Since former Rose Cup champ Morgan Pinckney has already been invited to the GovCup, if he wins Rose Cup, the Selection Committee will pick an alternate.

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