Field confirmed for 51st Governor’s Cup

Published on May 25th, 2017

Eleven international skippers have been selected to compete in the 51st Annual Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank, to be held July 17-22 in Corona del Mar, CA.

The “GovCup” is the oldest international youth match racing regatta in the world and skippers are chosen based on resumes submitted by interested sailors with final invitees picked by a selection committee which focuses on match racing success, fleet racing record, and overall race experience.

The 2017 field is led by Australia’s Harry Price, currently ranked # 6 in the World Sailing open match racing rankings. While Price’s record would have made him an easy choice for the committee, he received an automatic invitation as a former winner (2105) still eligible under the age limit.

In addition to Price, event host Balboa Yacht Club’s own Christophe Killian (USA) also received an automatic invitation as the host club’s entry, but he would have been invited in any event given his excellent resume and #17 World Sailing ranking. Moreover, last year he beat Price in the “petit finals” of the 50th Governor’s Cup to take third to Price’s fourth.

First and second place finishers in 2016 were Nevin Snow (USA) and Sam Gilmour (AUS, the latter a 2-time GovCup winner and #5 ranked world match racer), both of whom have “aged out” of the GovCup in which the sailors cannot have reached their 23rd birthday. Most observers would consider Price and Killian the favorites in 2017.

USA will also be represented by southern Californian Christopher Weis and Floridian Greiner Hobbs. They will be joined by another American, the winner of the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup at the Fort Worth Boat Club (Texas) in June.

Weis was a GovCup semi-finalist in 2015 and placed 6th in 2016 – sailing against what was widely regarded as the toughest fleet ever. In 2016, Hobbs placed second in the College Match Racing US National Championship, and is also one of two U.S. representatives to the Youth World Match Racing Championship to be hosted by BYC two weeks after the GovCup.

Price, Killian and the other U.S. sailors will be tested by the other invited skippers including two from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (NZL), George Anyon and Leonard Takahashi. Anyon placed 3rd in the Warren Jones Youth Match Racing Championship in Western Australia, an event whose age limit is 25, and Takahashi impressed BYC members and competitors with his 5th place finish in last year’s Governor’s Cup.

As has become the norm, in addition to Price, Australia will also be represented by three other strong teams including an all-female crew led by Clare Constanzo of Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred YC, as well as GovCup veteran Lachy Gilmour from the Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth, Western Australia.

Gilmour, the younger brother of Sam Gilmour, was a finalist in 2015, losing narrowly to Price. The matches between Price, Gilmour and Killian should be among the highlights of the 2017 event. Will Boulden, also from the RFBYC, is the fourth Australian entry. Boulden won the prestigious Harken youth match racing event in Australia and was a finalist in the World University and EUROSAF youth European championships.

For the first time, there will be two skippers from the United Kingdom, Matt Whitfield from the Penarth YC in Wales and James Pinder who will be sailing for the Cambridge University Cruising Club. Whitfield has had podium finishes in both youth and open match racing events in the UK, and is also an accomplished fleet racer including a British University national championship in the Laser class. Pinder has also focused on match racing lately although he is also a champion team racer.

Housing for the 12 teams will be provided by BYC members and 12 “GovCup 22” sloops will be provided for the entrants. The 22’s are custom designed and built specifically for this type of racing. They were funded largely by generous contributions from BYC members and sponsors and feature a “flat top” mainsail, masthead spinnaker, modern “T” keel and an “all up” weight of only 1470 lbs (666 kg). Light and lively, they perform well in virtually all conditions, including Newport Beach’s light to moderate summer breezes.

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