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2021 Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship at Balboa Yacht Club - Day 3

by Susan Kenney 30 Jul 05:33 BST July 26-31, 2021
Morgan Pinckney (USA, Newport Harbor YC) - 54th Governor's Cup © Tom Walker

Jeffrey Petersen (USA, Balboa YC) and Emil Kjaer (DEN, Royal Danish YC) have advanced to the semifinals of the 54th annual Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted by Balboa Yacht Club (Newport Beach, California) and sponsored by DISC Sports and Spine Center.

The two other semifinalists will be the top two teams at the end of a third round-robin (the "Repechage") that began this afternoon 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 under way, 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 Saturday (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."

Friday (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. Friday evening GovCup TV will also cover a press conference with the semifinalists. Live coverage continues Race Day 5 (Saturday) with another 0900 Morning Show, live racing at 1130, and the final press conference and awards ceremony at 1630.

www.govcupracing.com

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