Takahashi rolls on at Governor’s Cup
Published on July 18th, 2019
Newport Beach, CA (July 18, 2019) – The qualifying double round robin stage continued today for the 12 international teams competing at the 53rd Annual Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship. With four races remaining, Leonard Takahashi (NZL), the two-time runner-up who won the first round, leads the fleet through the second round with a record of 6-1.
Conditions were very different than the 9-14 knot southerly winds experienced on days one and two, with a more typical south to southwest wind of 4-8 knots today.
Takahashi’s overall points score of 14 points puts him two ahead of Jack Parkin (USA). Parkin’s crucial wins today included close matches against Frank Dair (USA), who was in second after yesterday’s action, and Jordan Stevenson (NZL). Four skippers are only one point behind Parkin with 11 points, including Dair, Stevenson, Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), and Finn Tapper (AUS). Of the four, all but Tapper are products of the youth programs of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the current holder of the America’s Cup.
Since only four sailors will make the semi-finals based on their overall scores from the two round-robins, racing tomorrow should please the growing spectator fleet in the Pacific Ocean off Newport Beach. It would be hard, however, to beat some of today’s racing, including perhaps the best match between Egnot-Johnson and Dair.
As they sailed downwind for the last time, Egnot-Johnson was carrying a penalty – meaning that before the finish, he would either have to cause Dair to commit a foul—thereby neutralizing his penalty—or complete a 270 degree turn before the finish. In an example of world-class match racing, within a few boat lengths of the finish, Egnot-Johnson carried Dair, as windward boat, past the finish pin end and as both boats doused their spinnakers to return to the finish, he completed his penalty turn.
Both boats, with jibs halfway up, sailed slowly upwind but ended up crossing the finish line in the wrong direction, requiring them to unwind their course, round the pin end to starboard, and then finish downwind.
In doing so, Egnot-Johnson’s only chance to cross ahead was to try to sail between Stevenson and the pin end buoy. While he got there, he simultaneously hit the pin, causing another penalty, and Dair safely crossed the line ahead.
While Parkin’s path to the semi-finals would seem easier on paper since he faces four skippers not in contention for the semi-finals, when asked about that, he and his tactician Wiley Rogers said, “Only on paper,” noting that as the round-robin matches, at least to date, have shown any of these skippers can beat any of the others in any given race.
Key matches among the contenders tomorrow include Egnot-Johnson versus Tapper in the first flight (19) of the day, followed immediately by Takahashi against Dair, the latter needing a win more than Takahashi. In flight 20, Dair faces off against Stevenson, and in the final two flights of the round-robins, Stevenson faces off against Tapper (flight 21) and Takahashi against Egnot-Johnson in the final flight (22).
The second round-robin will be completed tomorrow, and the top four boats will advance to the semi-final races. Those not qualifying for the semis will continue to race to secure their final placing with the 5th place boat sailing the 6th, the 7th versus the 8th, etc.
The winners of the semi-finals, first to win three-race pairings, will sail for the Governor’s Cup on July 20, and the losers will sail in the petit finals for third place.
The 53rd Annual Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship presented by DISC Sports and Spine Centeron is on July 16-20 and begins with a double round-robin series to advance the top four teams to the knock out matches for the Semi-Finals, Finals, and Petit Finals. There are also Consolation rounds to determine the standings from 5th through 12th.
Source: Balboa Yacht Club