Wood wins Youth Match Racing Worlds
Published on August 14th, 2021
Newport Beach, CA (August 14, 2021) – David Wood (USA) peaked at just the right time to win the 2021 Youth Match Racing World Championship, beating local rival Jeffrey Petersen (USA) 3-1 in the Finals. Wood’s crew was Max Mayol, Daniel Pegg, and Marbella Marlo.
The two skippers had recently faced each other with Petersen getting the victories in two major youth match racing events. Petersen won the 2021 U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship with Wood in third position. Then, just prior to the Worlds, Petersen won the 54th Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship where Wood finished a disappointing fifth.
But this time, Wood was on top in a surprisingly easy finals win, other than the first race. In that race, after Wood finally established a seemingly comfortable lead, the two boats approached the finish line with Wood heading towards the Committee Boat end of the finish line. The two boats gybed onto starboard tack and Petersen’s maneuver was slightly better, and, with a slight puff, he surged past Wood to win at the pin end by a matter of inches.
Petersen made some unforced errors at the starts of the next three races, and seemingly was about to incur a penalty in what turned out to be the final start for a minor port-starboard collision, but it was green flagged by the umpires. They were not in position to see the slight contact.
The start ended up even, but Wood got a bit more wind on the left and led around the first mark. As has been the case all week, a narrow lead at the weather mark was always in doubt, but Wood was able to hold his lead to the leeward gate.
Petersen did a masterful job on the weather leg to close the gap to about a boat length at the windward mark. Both boats rounded and the stage was set for either a great comeback by Petersen or a World Championship for Wood.
Both boats approached the finish in almost the same positions as Race One when Petersen eked out the victory, but lightning did not strike twice as Wood gybed perfectly at the Committee boat and the two competitors finished with the boats overlapped but with Wood’s bow clearly ahead. The World Championship was his.
The other two semi-finalists, Emil Kjaer (DEN) and Riccardo Sepe (ITA) sailed in the petit final to determine third and fourth places. In what most considered a minor upset, Sepe prevailed 2-1. While Sepe lost his semi-final 3-0 to Petersen, Kjaer came back from a 0-2 deficit in his semifinal with Wood, to tie that series 2-2. However, Kjaer incurred several pre-start penalties and succumbed to Wood in a race that was not as close as expected, putting Wood into the final.
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