Peterson leading at Governor’s Cup
Published on July 29th, 2021
Newport Beach, CA (July 29, 2021) – Racing continued today for ten teams competing in the 2021 Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship. The second Round Robin was completed and the Repechage is in process. Jeffrey Peterson (USA) was in first overall with a 16-2 record, Emil Kjaer (NOR) in second with a record of 13-5 after the two round robins were sailed.
Petersen (USA, Balboa YC) and Kjaer (DEN, Royal Danish YC) have advanced to the semifinals of the 54th annual Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship. The two other semifinalists will be the top two teams at the end of a third round-robin (the “Repechage”) that began today and concludes tomorrow.
Today (Race Day 3) proved to be the “moving day” for Petersen and Kjaer who were first and second going into today’s racing, respectively. Petersen continued his near-perfect scorecard including two wins over Kjaer, losing only one match to Porter Kavle (USA, Annapolis YC). Kjaer lost only five matches in the round-robins, finishing two points clear of Kavle and Morgan Pinckney (USA, Newport Harbor YC), who finished the two round-robins tied on 11 wins.
Balboa YC provides the identical Governor’s Cup 22 sloops used for the event. Today was the third straight day of racing in a lumpy 12-16 knots of breeze. The boats have a lot of sail area for their size and weight and were and surfing downwind at close to 15 knots in the typical Pacific Ocean chop off Newport Beach.
Petersen, when recalling the day’s superb racing conditions and the GovCup 22s said, “Catching the first wave when you round the weather mark is crucial. If you have a good spinnaker set, and then accelerate and catch the next wave, a one-boat length lead quickly becomes three.”
All crews agreed that the boats are challenging to sail upwind, especially how, and how much, to “de-power” the mast and sails in the puffs. Petersen said, “It’s a fine balance between easing the traveler and losing the ability to point high, versus easing the main and losing speed.” Over the past three days, evidently Petersen has the right combination. This afternoon, the remaining eight teams finished three of the seven races in the Repechage.
Before this year’s series got underway, two-time Governor’s Cup winner and “GovCup” Steering Committee Chair, Andy Rose (Balboa YC), said, “I believe this is the most evenly-matched field in recent memory.” Today, Rose was proved right as six of the remaining eight teams carried either six or seven wins into the Repechage.
Today Kavle’s experienced Annapolis YC team were on a roll — winning the final three races of the second round-robin, including his win over Petersen, and then three straight wins in the Repechage. Kavle & Co. are a clear favorite to advance to the semis with Petersen and Kjaer, as is 16-year-old Morgan Pinckney, sailing in only his second major match racing competition.
Pinckney is also undefeated in the Repechage and would have to be considered the surprise of the regatta to date. He has clearly applied his skills as an accomplished fleet and team racer to match racing. In the breeze, he may also be benefiting from being the only skipper with three, rather than two crew. There is a weight limit but if that is met, the boats can be easily sailed with a total of either three or four sailors.
Two points behind Kavle and Pinckney are Jack Egan (USA, San Diego YC) and Thimoté Polet (FRA, Sport Nautique et Plaisance du Havre) on 11 points. Also, in the “hunt” is former U.S. Youth Match Racing Champion (for the Rose Cup) and GovCup veteran David Wood (USA, Balboa YC).
Tomorrow (Race Day 4), any one of these five teams (Pinckney, Kavle, Egan, Polet, and Wood) could mathematically capture the two remaining semifinal slots. The semis begin tomorrow afternoon and will continue into Race Day 5, followed by the finals. As is traditional in modern match racing, the leader after the round-robin stages will have the privilege of choosing his opponent from among the other three teams in the semis.
Usually, but not always, the leader chooses the 4th place team, but Petersen said tonight, “I’ve never been in this position. Before, I was one of three who could be chosen, so it’s a little scary to have to do that. But, by tomorrow, I’ll have it figured out.”
Tomorrow, (Race Day 4), will feature the usual pre-race “Morning Show” broadcast by GovCup TV on www.fb.com/bycgovcup at 0900 PDT (GMT-7), including competitor briefings and short interviews with two of the skippers. This will be followed at 1130 PDT by live race coverage of the end of the Repechage and the beginning of the semis. Tomorrow evening GovCup TV will also cover a press conference with the semifinalists. Live coverage continues Race Day 5 with another 0900 Morning Show, live racing at 1130, and the final press conference and awards ceremony at 1630.
Round Robin #1 Results
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