BYC’s 57th GovCup open for entries; Petersen awaits shot at third title

Balboa Yacht Club (BYC) has posted all the information necessary for requesting an invitation (“RFI”) for the 57th Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship scheduled for July 22-27, on the event website, under “Race Documents.”

The deadline for receiving RFIs is April 12, but the Selection Committee may invite skippers who are particularly qualified at any time.

The GovCup is the oldest youth (under 23 years old) match racing championship in the world and includes, among its “alumni,” many of the finest sailors in the world, led by two-time America’s Cup winner James Spithill (AUS) and multiple Congressional Cup and World Match Racing Tour champ Taylor Canfield (USA).

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Photo by Tom Walker

Jeffrey Petersen (USA) and his team of Max Brennan (USA) and Enzo Menditto (USA) competing in the 56th Annual Governor’s Cup

In 2023, a record eight countries were represented at the GovCup, led by the 2021 and 2023 winner, and 2022 Youth Match Racing World Champion, BYC’s own Jeffrey Petersen. This year, he will be back in his final year of eligibility trying to be the only skipper to win three times since the Cup was founded in 1967.

It will not be easy as last year’s runner up Cole Tapper (AUS) is also expected to attend, coming off a victory over Petersen in December’s Youth Match Racing World Championship.

The third and fourth place finishers in 2023, Morgan Pinckney (USA) and Justin Callahan (USA) are also still eligible.

Liam O’Keefe (USA) will also be invited as a result of his winning the U.S. Intercollegiate Match Racing Championship for Brown University in late 2023. In doing so, he beat both Petersen and Pinckney.

“The competition looks like it may be the best we’ve seen in years, and that’s saying something given our history,” said Governor’s Cup Chair Christine Gribben.

The event will be a “Grade 3” event but after the selection of teams, the club may reapply for retroactive re-grading given the likely quality of the invitees list. The Governor’s Cup is the only youth match racing event to achieve a Grade 1 status (in 2018), a grade usually reserved for professional events.

The Cup is sailed in identical “Governor’s Cup 22” sloops provided to the competitors by the Newport Balboa Sailing & Seamanship Association. They were designed by famed yacht designer and BYC Staff Commodore Alan Andrews and feature fractional rigs, flat top mains and masthead spinnakers.

They have proved perfectly suited to racing in wind speeds of as little as 4-5 knots, but also perform well and are exciting to sail in the 18-20 knot conditions seen in several previous regattas. Since they were first used in the Cup in 2016, skippers and crews have generally agreed they are among the best – if not the best – boats used in youth match racing.

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