2022 US Youth Match Racing Champs
Published on June 19th, 2022
Team Pinckney (Newport Harbor YC) defeated Team Callahan (Biscayne Bay YC) to win the 2022 US Youth Match Racing Championship on June 17-19 in Long Beach, CA. Racing in Solings for the Rose Cup, the event is for sailors who have reached their 16th birthday but not their 21st birthday. The winning team was Morgan Pinckney, Will Glasson, Ashley Highland, and Peter Sangmeister.
Calahan was perfect through the qualifying round robin series which was used to seed teams for the quarter final knock-out stage. While Pinckney only finished the qualifiers in fifth position, his team found their stride by blanking their quarter final and semifinal opponents to advance to the finals.
The first match of the finals began with an even start, but Team Callahan squeaked ahead on the first beat and led at every mark throughout the race. Team Pinckney picked up a penalty at the leeward gate, and the race ended with Team Callahan leading across the finish line, just like every single one of their previous races.
In race two, Team Pinckney took the lead at the top mark with Callahan hot on their heels. Callahan got to the strong side downwind, but just didn’t have the speed to overtake as Pinckney handed Team Callahan their first loss of the regatta.
Race three of the finals had Team Pinckney in the lead at the first mark, but Team Callahan closed the gap downwind for an even split at the gate rounding. Callahan’s upwind speed paid off, resulting in a lead change at the second weather mark. Try as they might, Team Pinckney couldn’t reel them back in and the match went to Callahan.
In race four, Pinckney was in control during the final seconds of the prestart and stayed clear ahead for the whole first lap. But Callahan gained on the second beat by splitting the course and rounded the second top mark trailing by a boat length. On the run to the finish, Pinckney sent Callahan into a quick luff before gybing away to win by inches, prompting a fifth and final race to decide the overall winner.
The sudden death match started with a penalty to Team Pinckney right off the bat for no entry. At the gun, Team Callahan picked up a penalty of their own after a windward/leeward situation, offsetting Pinckney’s penalty. A tacking duel ensued off the starting line and throughout the first beat, leaving Callahan behind and Pinckney three lengths in the lead.
But Callahan’s downwind speed got them back into the race, setting up an even split at the gate. At the top of the course, Pinckney took Callahan hundreds of yards past the weather mark in an edge-of-your-seat luffing battle up to the break wall before finally setting their kite and heading for the finish.
“I’ve never umpired a Long Beach match race this close to San Pedro,” joked Chief Umpire Randy Smith, referring to the distance the pair sailed off the racecourse. Pinckney successfully defended against multiple attempts by Callahan to roll over the top and eventually crossed the line ahead to win the 2022 US Youth Match Racing Championship.
“Massive thanks to Dave Perry and Andy Rose,” said Skipper Morgan Pinckney. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I couldn’t have asked for a more fun event. I’m super stoked on our win!”
Traditionally, the Rose Cup Champion is invited to compete in the Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Race at Balboa Yacht Club in July, but Pinckney had already received an invitation. As the runner up, Justin Callahan received an invitation to the Halloween Regatta at Oakliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, New York.
“We are hooked on match racing,” said Callahan. “Thank you to my club and thank you to Long Beach YC. I could not have asked for a more fun weekend.” 2022 Rose Cup Chairman David Stotler wished the teams well in their future endeavors. “Awesome racing all week,” said Stotler. “We see future Congressional Cup talent all over the racecourse.”
The Nick Scandone Award, voted by the competitors to recognize the team which had earned the most respect during the event, went by unanimous decision to Team Flores, which included Skipper Jack Flores, Ian Wells, Brook Wood, and Max Kleha. “I’m having trouble finding words here,” said Flores. “We’re leaving this event with more friends than we came with, and I consider that a massive victory for us.”