Thursday, July 18, 2013

West Coast Tour - A World Class Match Race at The Governor's Cup / Balboa Yacht Club

by Kate Sheahan
West Coast Tour Coordinator

In 1967 the first Governor’s Cup Regatta was held at the Balboa Yacht Club with a trophy donated by the then new Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, who later went on to become President. The 47th Annual Governor’s Cup, the oldest junior match racing regatta in the world, kicked off yesterday with twelve American and international teams from Australia, New Zealand, Maine, Illinois and California. Balboa Yacht Club Commodore, Ray Lewis, reminded participants that “alumni of the ‘Gov Cup’ have gone on to great success in the America’s Cup, Volvo Round the World Race, World Match Race Tour; and competitors make and continue long-term rivalries and friendships during the Gov Cup Week, which is a big part of the Gov Cup’s legacy.”

Governor’s Cup 21’s were purpose-built for the Governor’s Cup in 2003, designed by former Balboa Yacht Club Commodore, Alan Andrews, with sails provided by Ullman Sails. There are three types of boats generally used in youth match racing, with Australia and New Zealand favoring a more dinghy-like keelboat such as the Elliot series in the 19-20 foot range. The Elliott 6M was used in the recent US Rose Cup, which helped decide many of this year’s Gov Cup competitors. Larger and heavier Sonars, which are more of a traditional keel boat, are at the opposite end of the range. The Gov Cup 21’s are a hybrid of the Elliott and Sonar - think Melges 24 with a traditional masthead spinnaker.

On the water umpires are assigned to each racing pair to settle disputes immediately.  When one team believes the other has broken a rule, they fly a Y flag and the on-water umpires “green flag” a non-incident or assign a penalty by flying a flag corresponding to the team at fault. A penalty circle is done on the water and before the given race ends.

The Governor’s Cup is known as a “Pathway for Champions,” and former America’s Cup tactician and Gov Cup M.C. Andy Rose reminded sailors, as he pinned them during a formal dinner and competitor “roast” held prior to the first day of racing, that, “the difference in skills between the best youth match racers and the best professional match racers is quite small.”  Teams like Sam Gilmour’s Perth-based Neptune Racing and the newly forged Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron helmed by Chris Steele say they see this event as a proving ground for their future in professional sailing, a way to see the world, and make a name for themselves, perhaps similar to President Regan’s hopes when he was simply a ‘B’ movie actor.

Follow me as I head north to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon to keep up with 49ers, 29ers and I14s at the Gorge Skiff Invitational, but first I'll be competing in the sabot Dutch Shoe Marathon in San Diego tomorrow, Friday July 19th.

Find the West Coast Tour on Twitter at @USSailing

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for joining us at the Gov Cup. It was a terrific event, especially exciting for the home team. Nancy Mellon