Governer’s Cup: Petersen holds on
Published on July 30th, 2021
Newport Beach, CA (July 30, 2021) – Jeffrey Petersen (USA, Balboa Yacht Club), and Emil Kjaer (DEN, Royal Danish Yacht Club), qualified for the semifinals yesterday for the Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship, hosted by Balboa Yacht Club (Newport Beach, California), by being the top two finishers in the eighteen race double round-robin stage. After those races, where each team sailed against each other twice, they had a seven-race break from sailing, waiting to learn the identity of their fellow semifinalists.
Porter Kavle (USA, Annapolis YC) and Morgan Pinckney (USA, Newport Harbor YC) led at the end of today’s third round-robin for the remaining eight teams — the Repechage — advancing them also to the semis. Not a surprise, as those two teams were ahead of the other six this morning when the Repechage resumed with flights 4-7.
But the Repechage was not without drama, as the 16-year-old future “rock star” Pinckney promptly lost his first two races. Kavle also dropped a race, giving Jack Egan (USA, San Diego YC), and Thimoté Polet (FRA, Sport Nautique et Plaisance du Havre) a slim chance to make the semis. However, it was not to be, and the two are now racing in the consolation series for fifth place. Given that they have more years left in the Governor’s Cup and other age-limited match racing events, both could well be future “GovCup” winners.
Indeed, Egan and Pinckney were tied on points at the end of the Repechage, but the tie was broken in favor of Pinckney who had defeated Egan in all three of their matches. Petersen, as the leader coming out of the semis, had the choice of his opponent in the semis and chose his cross-harbor rival, Pinckney.
As has been typical all four days of racing, the wind increased through the afternoon from 10 knots to as much as 17. It was the breeziest racing yet when the semis got underway.
As was not typical of the series, the races were not close and Petersen and Kjaer easily handled their opponents, Pinckney and Kavle, respectively, to go 1-0 in the “best to three” semis. The top two skippers had been concerned about the long layoff while the others raced in the Repechage.
Petersen joined the media boat briefly after they had secured their spots yesterday afternoon and said, “I’ve never watched a match race series when I was still in it,” referring to a few of his prior regattas where he had not made the semis. “I guess I could have gone home and taken a shower before the umpires debrief, but we have a water shortage in California, and I didn’t think that was a good idea!”
Kjaer, on the other hand, who was new to the Governor’s Cup 22s used in the regatta, worried that two of his ultimate semifinal opponents would have the experience of seven more races in the boats until he got back on the water, especially given that match racing inherently favors experience.
In the end, neither Petersen nor Kjaer had any issues and came out, if anything, stronger than they were in the double round-robin. Both seemed to have great boat speed and good tactics and won their starts convincingly. As in any match race, with those three factors in hand, they were impossible to pass.
Tomorrow (Race Day 5) will feature the final races of the consolation series, and then the finals and petit final, the latter for the third and fourth place teams (losers in the semis). The forecast is for breeze again, perhaps increasing to as much as 18-20 knots by later in the afternoon.
The son of the founders of the Cup, Balboa YC Staff Commodore Tom Purcell, who has won three Governor’s Cups and two Congressional Cups as a trimmer, reported on the weather but also noted that neither he nor anyone else aboard the media boat remembers seeing five straight days of 12-17 knot westerlies in Newport Beach.
Tomorrow’s action starts one-half hour earlier than the scheduled 1130 PDT (GMT -7) to assure getting all racing finished. The start time will be announced on the pre-race live “Morning Show” at 0900. As usual, that will be live-streamed on www.fb.com/bycgovcup, as will the live racing whether it starts at 1100 or 1130. Following tomorrow’s racing, the final press conference will also be live-streamed, followed immediately by the awards ceremony.
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