Governor’s Cup: Close racing in Newport
Published on July 28th, 2021
Newport Beach, CA (July 28, 2021) – Racing continued today for ten teams competing in the 2021 Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship. The first Round Robin was completed and the Round Robin #2 is in process. Emil Kjaer (NOR) and Jeffrey Peterson (USA) both finished RR#1 with 88% win record. Jeffrey Petersen (USA, Balboa Yacht Club) continued his winning ways today, Day 2 of the 54th Annual Governor’s Cup Youth International Match Racing Championship.
While Petersen ended today with another perfect record, he did receive a one-point penalty for a collision on Day 1, but that didn’t faze the newly crowned U.S. Youth Match Racing Champion for the Rose Cup, which was held in June.
The last race of the day featured Petersen and another top competitor, Emil Kjaer (DEN, Royal Danish YC), Petersen sailing to a relatively easy win. That gives him a two-point lead over Kjaer, and tomorrow, Petersen can virtually wrap up the double round-robin stage—an automatic berth in the semi-finals—with a win in the planned first race on Day 3 between the two to make up for their Day 1 match postponement due to a minor breakdown of one of the boats.
Even if Kjaer prevails, it is unlikely to change the current expectation which would put both in the semi-finals as the top two round-robin finishers. If so, the two would sit out the next stage of the competition, a single round-robin repechage for the other eight teams. The top two of the repechage round will join the other two semi-finalists for “first to three” matches, and the winners of the two semis will advance to the finals on Day 5 (Saturday).
Today, in ideal 12-15 knot conditions in the Pacific Ocean off a seasonably warm Newport Beach, the balance of the leaderboard was marked by inconsistency. Due to travel restrictions in parts of the world affected by COVID, this year’s competitors are somewhat less experienced than a typical “GovCup” regatta. However, many veteran BYC observers believe that overall, it is the most competitive field in memory.
The repechage round starts tomorrow afternoon. Going into this next phase the favorites appear to be Thimoté Polet (FRA, Sport Nautique et Plaisance du Havre), Porter Kavle (USA, Annapolis YC) and 16-year-old Morgan Pinckney (USA, Newport Harbor Yacht Club) who are tied on eight points. Only one point behind are Jack Egan (USA, San Diego YC), pre-regatta favorite David Wood (USA, Balboa Yacht Club), and Ansgar Jordan (USA, Coronado Yacht Club) tied on seven points.
In the past, GovCup has been given a Grade 1 status by World Sailing based on the quality of the skippers, umpires, and the event. The only higher grade is an official World Championship. On the heels of GovCup, Balboa Yacht Club will host its second Youth Match Racing World Championship commencing Monday, August 9 with most of the same teams.
The Governor’s Cup is the oldest youth match racing event in the world and twelve identical “Governor’s Cup 22s”, are provided to the teams for the event. They were designed by BYC Staff Commodore Alan Andrews. Built in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of the GovCup, they proved exciting for spectators to watch in today’s great conditions, with the breeze somewhat stronger than usual for Newport Beach. And, as the teams learned to sail them effectively, the races became closer. Several of the last races were decided by a matter of a few feet.
“GovCup TV” will broadcast all the racing live on Friday and Saturday starting at 11:30a PDT (GMT-7) on www.fb.com/bycgovcup. A press conference with the semi-finalists will be broadcast live on Friday, July 30 at 6:45p PDT, as will the final press conference and awards presentation on Saturday, July 31 beginning at 4:30p PDT.
Competitors for 54th edition:
• Thimoté Polet, a successful sailor in fleet and ocean racing in addition to his skills as a match racer, will represent France.
• Emil Kjaer from Denmark also joins the field having attained a podium finish in three separate Grade 2 match racing events in northern Europe and would have to be considered one of the favorites.
• Scandinavian Marius Westerlind (SWE) will skipper in the GovCup for the first time as the 2020 Swedish Youth Match Racing Champion and will undoubtedly keep up the tradition of strong Swedish teams.
• David Wood and Jeffrey Petersen, who both grew up sailing at host Balboa Yacht Club and then teamed up for their first big match racing event, the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup in 2017, winning that event with Wood steering and Petersen crewing. Petersen turned the tables on Wood in June’s 2021 U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship by skippering the winning team with Wood third.
• San Diego Yacht Club’s Jack Egan who will have another chance at Wood and Petersen in the Governor’s Cup. Egan was undefeated in the double round robin, quarter and semi-finals at 2021 USYMRC but succumbed to the frequent “curse” of undefeated teams at that stage and lost to Petersen in the finals. Egan is a first-time Governor’s Cup skipper.
• Representing Coronado YC, Ansgar Jordan had already accepted an invitation as a first-time Governor’s Cup skipper.
• Porter Kavle of Annapolis, MD who is on the sailing team at Fordham University was also invited and will be another first-time Governor’s Cup skipper.
• Morgan Pinkney of Newport Harbor YC (CA) will, at 16, be the youngest skipper and will be sailing in his first Governor’s Cup.
• 2021 USYMRC semi-finalist Owen Lahr of Richmond YC (CA) is another first-time skipper.
The Governor’s Cup is an invitational event for sailors that have not reached their 23rd birthday by the last day of the regatta. Crews of three or four that meet the weight requirement will sail the Governor’s Cup 22 boats designed and built for the event. Racing is July 27 – 31.
Stage 1 ‐ A double round robin of all teams.
Stage 2 ‐ A semi‐final knockout of the top four teams from Stage 1.
Stage 3 – A final knockout of the top two teams from Stage 2
Stage 4 – A petit final knockout of the other two teams from Stage 2.
Stage 5 – A consolation round for the teams finishing five through ten from Stage 1