After some tight matches during the first few days of racing, leaders are starting to emerge at Balboa Yacht Club’s 53rd Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship.
Semi-finals start just before noon Friday. Racing should be exciting for spectators, as the rest of the week has proven, any skipper can come out on top in any given race.
Kicking off on Tuesday afternoon, the first day of racing was full of upsets, lead changes and a last-minute surprise at the start-finish line which had a major impact on the standings, according to officials.
Matt Whitfield, of Penarth Yacht Club in Great Britain, looked certain to head to the top of the leaderboard with a 5-2 record until the finish of his last match Tuesday.
“It coincided with the start of the crucial clash between the leaders,” GovCup officials explained in a press release. “Whitfield misjudged his finish and, going downwind on port tack while well ahead of his opponent, fouled (Australian Finn) Tapper as the latter started. That not only caused Tapper to lose his start against Takahashi, but also resulted in Whitfield incurring a penalty and losing a race he had well in hand.”
A point was deducted from Whitfield’s overall score after the race for damage incurred, lowering his score to 3-4.
The opening day of racing saw a number of tight races, with several sailors tied on the standings board.
By the end of the day on Wednesday, pre-regatta favorite and two-time GovCup runner-up Leonard “Leo” Takahashi of New Zealand was alone on top with 10 wins.
Skipper Frank Dair of the California Yacht Club is only one point behind with nine wins.
“We had a good day, but are still trying to minimize mistakes and get back to our old form,” Dair said in a prepared statement shared by GovCup officials on Wednesday. “Both my crew are doing a good job, and we look forward to some more great racing tomorrow. You can’t slack off in any race because the field here is so good that any of the teams can capitalize on a mistake and take a race off you.”
Wednesday also saw Tapper, who was tied with Takahashi for the lead the day before, move down to be tied for third with three other skippers who all had eight points. This puts four semi-final spots ultimately on the line come Friday.
Takahashi continued his winning ways on Thursday and is now two points clear of the fleet, while Jack Parkin of Riverside Yacht Club came on strong and took over second. Dair slipped to a four-way tie for third, along with Tapper, Jordan Stevenson of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and Nick Egnot-Johnson of RNZYS Youth Training Program.
Only four sailors made the semi-finals based on their final scores from the round-robins
Key matches among the contenders on Friday include Egnot-Johnson versus Tapper in the first flight (19) of the day, followed immediately by Takahashi against Dair.
In flight 20, Dair faces off against Stevenson, and in the final two flights of the round-robins, Stevenson faces off against Tapper (flight 21) and Takahashi against Egnot-Johnson in the final flight (22).
Just a few points behind the leaders is local favorite David Wood of the host Balboa Yacht Club.
The second round-robin will be completed on Friday, and the top four boats will start the semi-final races. Those not qualifying for the semis will continue to race to secure their final placing with the 5th place boat sailing the 6th, the 7th versus the 8th, etc. The winners of the semi-finals, first to win three-race pairings, will sail for the Governor’s Cup on Saturday, and the losers will sail in the petit finals for third place.
For more information and full results, visit govcupracing.com.