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55th Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship announces 2022 invitees

by Susan Kenney 26 Apr 2022 03:37 BST July 25-30, 2022
Morgan Pinckney leads ultimate winner Jeffrey Petersen during the round robin stage of the 2022 Governor's Cup. Both Petersen and Pinckney will be tough to beat this year © Tom Walker Photography

The skippers invited to the 55th Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing this week make this event more like a traditional, pre-Covid "GovCup" lineup after the Cup's cancellation in 2020 and last year's event which featured a U.S. vs. Europe lineup. The 2020/2021 travel restrictions on the teams from the British Commonwealth have been lifted and the host Balboa Yacht Club looks forward to having them back!

Selection Committee Chair Brian Bissell (USA, Newport Harbor YC) noted that "our job is always difficult in choosing from among anywhere from two to three times the number of requests for Invitation received as compared to the twelve spots in the Governor's Cup". "We believe that we have selected a great and very evenly matched group of skippers with five Americans, three Australians, two teams from New Zealand, and one team each from Sweden and the United Kingdom", he continued.

Jeffrey Petersen (USA) from the host Balboa Yacht Club leads the list as defending champion. He is also the reigning U.S. Youth Match Racing Champion and placed second in the 2021 Youth Match Racing World Championships. He is ranked 20th in the world in the Open Match Race Rankings (non-age limited) maintained by the governing body of the sport, World Sailing. Petersen was also selected by U.S. Sailing to represent the United States in the 2022 Youth Match Racing World Championship to be held in Pornichet, France just before the Governor's Cup.

Another pre-race favorite is Jordan Stevenson (NZL) ranked number twelve in those ranking who has won, among other things, the U.S. Grand Slam series, and the two of the three most important youth match racing regattas in the southern hemisphere, the Harken and Musto Youth International regattas.

Jordan will be joined by his countryman, Robbie McCutcheon, who won the New Zealand Youth Trials for the World Championship in France and will join Petersen at that event. McCutcheon also won the Centreport Youth International Regatta in New Zealand, the Auckland MR Championship and was 3rd in the New Zealand MR Championship which is not age limited.

Australia will send two teams from New South Wales and one from Western Australia. Will Sargent from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia ("CYCA") will continue a long line of "GovCup" competitors from that club including two winners. Sargent has won the Bollé Australia Match Cup and the Harken Youth MR Championships. He will be joined by Cole Tapper, also of CYCA. Interestingly, one of Tapper's crew will be his older brother, Finn Tapper, who is a GovCup veteran having finished just out of the semi-finals in 2019.

Western Australia lifted its Covid travel restrictions in March, which allowed Marcello Torre to be invited. Although those restrictions effectively prevented travel by WA citizens for the last two years, Torre has won most match racing events in that state during the period. Two-time United Kingdom Youth Match Racing Champion Robbie King also received an invitation after being unable to accept his 2021 invitation due to Covid restrictions.

Morgan Pinckney of Newport Harbor Yacht Club will again be the youngest competitor at 17 but this will be his second Governor's Cup. Morgan started his match racing career last year after winning multiple U.S. championships in dinghies and placed third overall in the 2021 Cup, ahead of all but two of the much more experienced skippers. This exceptionally talented sailor will be a force in the Governor's Cup for five more years.

2021 U.S. Intercollegiate Champion and Governor's Cup veteran Jack Egan of San Diego Yacht Club will sail in his second GovCup and will be joined by 2021 semi-finalist Porter Kavle of Annapolis, Maryland. Both will try to move up the leaderboard this year.

One of the most popular of recent Governor's Cup teams with local fans and fellow competitors is led by Marius Westerlind (SWE), who is a two-time Swedish Youth MR Champion. Marius will return to the Governor's Cup after his first event last year. The twelfth spot in the Cup will be filled by the winner of June's U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup. Pinckney will be a favorite in that event and since the winner receives an automatic invitation to the Governor's Cup, should he win GovCup and Worlds veteran Ansgar Jordan of San Diego, California will receive an invitation moving him from his first alternate status by the Selection Committee.

"We are excited to have the Commonwealth teams back and the Governor's Cup Committee and BYC members can hardly wait until July," said Christine Gribben, GovCup Chair. "It is the Club's centennial year and the Cup has been part of more than one half of our history. So, we are perhaps even more excited to again host the world's best young match racers."

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