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David Wood wins 2019 Junior Match Racing Invitational to become a repeat champion

by Laurie Morrison 3 Jun 06:56 BST 1-2 June 2019
There was really no looking back for David Wood as he made a clean sweep Sunday of two round-robin races, the semi-finals, and finals to win the 2019 Junior Match Racing Invitational. © Laurie Morrison

David Wood, representing Balboa Yacht Club, posted another day of racing without a loss, sweeping SDYC's Peter Joslin in the semi-finals and fellow BYC competitor Jeffrey Petersen in the finals to win the Junior Match Racing Invitational for the second year in a row.

The two-day, Grade 4 match racing event saw six teams sailing modified Solings on Alamitos Bay. Today's matches saw the completion of the second round robin, a Semi Final, Petit Final and Final race.

Yesterday, Wood, 51st-rated match racer in the world, was the only unbeaten skipper after five races, before forfeiting the last two races to leave early. Today, the 18-year-old said there was some luck involved in the win but credits the streak to following the plan to make kills in the pre-start and start, and then concentrate on extending the boat lead.

That's exactly what happened in the first race of the finals against Petersen, where he drew his only penalty of the series. "That was impatience on my part," Wood said. "A couple more seconds of patience and it would have made it easier, rather than having to spin and win at the pin."

The Corona del Mar High School student graduates in just a couple of weeks and has a busy summer of sailing before starting Rogers Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island in the fall. He'll be competing in events in San Diego and Chicago and will battle Petersen again at The Rose Cup at the end of the month for the single entry to BYC's Governor's Cup. Woods crewed with Max Mayol (18) and Jake Mayol (15) yesterday and Justin Coburn replaced Jake Mayol today.

After the skipper's meeting, Petersen, the 72nd-ranked match racer said the day's goal was to sail cleaner and make it to the finals. He said he has been thinking more strategically at the starts Saturday, but that resulted in penalties – getting two in one start of a race he only won because his competitor accidentally fouled another boat sailing in an earlier flight. He acknowledged making some bad decisions Saturday about which side of the course to sail - resulting in the inability to capitalize on boat speed.

But he praised his crew, Max Brennan (18) and Jacob Kowalski (18) for getting them to the podium.

Third-place finisher, LBYC's Trent Turigliatto went into Sunday's round robin with four wins and three losses and with the youngest crew of the event. Alex Lech (13) and Preston Woodworth (14) were at times both on jib when the winds increased.

The 18-year-old University of Miami student raced last weekend at the College National Championships in Newport Rhode Island. Turigliatto, the only other World Sailing rated match racer, at 202, was pleased with the finish and the progression of his young crew. "It's a new team, and I get to show them the ropes; helping to get the next generation involved," he said. He reported that the young apprentices asked a lot of questions after each race, after certain calls and maneuvers.

Although all the skippers this year were male, Principle Race Officer Alexis Hall ran the event. She's well organized and shows extraordinary leadership skills; we are very proud of her, Commodore Camille Daniels said of Hall.

Four of the club's five flag officers attended the awards ceremony, Daniels and Vice Commodore Charlie Legeman both served on race committee and Rear Commodore Jon Shull handed out the awards. Also in attendance was Fleet Captain Jon Turigliatto.

Woods graciously thanked the club for hosting the event and remarked at how far it has come since its early years when the races were sailing in FJs.

LBYC's Commitment to Youth

The Junior Match Racing Invitational, first run in 2013, was the idea of former youth sailor Jack Berg, then developed with the help of his father Eric Berg and LBYC's race director Jess Gerry.

That Daniels and Legeman both served on race committee for this event is an unmistakable nod to the club's ongoing commitment - from the Flags down - to its investment in youth sailing.

The goal is have local sailors competing in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, said Daniels. And that goal extends beyond LBYC sailors to all Southern California juniors. Offering events like this, that introduce match racing to new racers interested in developing their skills, and exposing young sailors to the highest level of racing, while bringing the best new sailors together to compete, is a big step toward reaching that goal.

Daniels expressed much enthusiasm for the entire youth program headed by new director Cameron MacLaren. "We've got a great team in place and are ready for the summer with a great, enthusiastic group of kids and supportive parents," she said.

Another investment exemplifying the club's commitment to its young sailors and securing its ability to offer the best opportunities for years to come, is the recent acquisition of four 420's. These world-class boats offer young sailors a more challenging dinghy – with the use of spinnakers, and hiking maneuvers – that will better prepare them for higher level regional and collegiate events.

The Solings used in this event, primarily used in the club's popular adult learn-to-sail programs, have been modified to make them easier and safer to sail.

Full results available here.

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