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Planning underway for summer’s 55th GovCup International Youth Match Racing Championships at BYC

The Balboa Yacht Club’s 55th Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championships is set to sail on July 25-30. Earlier this week the BYC began accepting Requests for Invitation (RIF), which is the first step towards filling the elite field.

Complicating matters this year is that the World Youth Match Racing Championships will be held in Pornichet, France the week prior from July 17-23. The good news is that the U.S. Youth Match Racing World Championship and Yacht Club Apcc Voile Sportive (FRA) worked together to ensure that the two championships did not conflict, allowing teams invited to both events the ability to compete.

Planning underway GovCup sailing

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Courtesy of GovCup

55th Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championships is set to sail on July 25-30

The GovCup is presented by Disc Sports & Spine Center and is an invitational event for sailors that have not reached their 23rd birthday by the last day of the regatta. 

It is the world’s oldest international youth match racing regatta and “alumni” have competed in, and won the America’s Cup, the Congressional Cup, Olympic medals, the World Match Racing Tour Championship and – perhaps most surprisingly given the difference in the sport’s disciplines – the Round the World Race.

“While COVID is still unfortunately with us, we hope that significant improvement in the situation will occur before the July dates and that this year we will be again be joined by teams from New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom which was not possible in 2021,” said Christine Gribben, chair of the event. “They will face tough competition from 2021 GovCup winner Jeffrey Petersen (USA) and World Youth Match Racing Champion David Wood (USA) –both of whom are committed to attend – as well as European teams expected to seek invitations from Denmark, France and Italy.”

“To a certain extent, this year will be a ‘changing of the guard’ as a number of young match racing champions like former GovCup winner Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) and 2019 Youth World Champion Tom Grimes (AUS) have ‘aged out’ of the Cup this year,” said Selection Committee member Andy Rose. “But, with the rankings of Petersen and Wood and the other potential age-eligible invitees, we still could end up with a Grade 2 quality fleet, or even Grade 1 as we were in 2018.”

The grading of events by World Sailing is based primarily on the “Open” (non-age-limited) rankings of the skippers. In 2018, the Governor’s Cup was retroactively regraded to Grade 1, the first youth match racing regatta to ever achieve that level, normally reserved for events with most, or all, professional sailors. 

The 2022 Governor’s Cup has initially applied as a Grade 3 regatta so if an upgrade is appropriate after the RIF and selection process, it would be retroactive as was the case in 2018.

The Cup is sailed in identical “Governor’s Cup 22” sloops provided by the Newport Balboa Sailing & Seamanship Association and BYC to the competitors. 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 four to five knots, but also perform well and are exciting to sail in the 18-20 knot conditions prevalent in the 2021 Cup.