Takahashi & Wilson confirmed for 52nd Govs Cup

Leonard Takahashi and James Wilson will represent RNZYS when they compete at the Governor’s Cup in California this July.

Twelve teams will compete in Balboa Yacht Club’s 52nd Annual Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship to be held July 16-21 in Newport Beach, CA. Leading the field is the world’s second ranked match racing skipper and former Governor’s Cup winner, Harry Price, 21, (AUS), defending Balboa Yacht Club Governor’s Cup champion Christophe Killian, 21, (USA) and 2017 runner-up Leonard Takahashi (NZL).

To be eligible for the event, sailors must be no more than 22 years old.

Price will represent the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in his effort to become the 11th two-time winner of the world’s oldest and most prestigious youth match racing event. In April he competed in his first Congressional Cup, the iconic match racing series on which the Governor’s Cup was originally patterned. Killian will also be seeking his second win, after last year breaking a 37 year drought since the last winner of the Governor’s Cup sailed for the host club.

Governor’s Cup veteran Will Boulden, of the Royal Freshwater Bay YC (Perth, Western Australia) will join his countryman Price in the fleet. Boulden has risen to a #12 position in the World Sailing Open Match Racing Rankings, the second highest of skippers who will sail this year in the Cup.

Nineteen year old Takahashi (WS Rank #14) will again be representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. After finishing 2nd in last year’s Governor’s Cup and beating Price in the semifinals, Takahashi had an unprecedented run in late 2017 and 2018, winning five major youth match racing events in Australia and New Zealand.

Takahashi’s stunning string included wins in the Musto and Harken youth match racing events in Australia, as well as the New Zealand Youth Match Racing Championship, RNZYS’s Nespresso Championship and the Centerport championship hosted by the Royal Port Nicholson YC (NZL). Takahashi will be joined by fellow RNZYS member, James Wilson, who placed second to Takahashi in both the Harken and Nespresso series.

Another American will also be one of the favorites. Christopher Weis of Los Angeles’ Del Rey YC, will race in his third Governor’s Cup, having made the semi-finals in both previous Governor’s Cups and finishing third last year.

As the founder and host of the Governor’s Cup, Balboa YC is entitled to one invitation. Defending U.S. Youth Match Racing Champion David Wood, 17, will again represent BYC after his 7th place finish in his first Governor’s Cup last year. Wood will again be the youngest sailor in the fleet, but his performance in 2017 impressed the older sailors. As Price said after trailing Wood last year in both their round-robin races before pulling out wins, “That kid is fast!”

Wood will defend his national title at this year’s USYMRC at the end of June. Since the winner of that event receives an automatic invitation to the Governor’s Cup, given that he has already received his bid via BYC, if he is successful at the USYMRC the first alternate chosen by the Selection Committee will be invited.

The field also includes Clare Costanzo (AUS, 21, Royal Prince Alfred YC) who has achieved high rankings in both the women’s and open match race rankings published by World Sailing. This will be her second Governor’s Cup. The field is completed by Scott Sinks (USA, San Diego YC) who received the automatic invitation given to the winner of the U.S. Intercollegiate Match Racing Championships, as well as Matt Whitfield (GBR) and Felix Jacobsen (DEN), the youth match racing champions of the United Kingdom and Sweden, respectively.

“We believe from top to bottom, the talent this year is the best ever,” said BYC Selection Committee Chair Bill Wakeman. The best youth events are generally given Grade 3 status, with Grade 1 and 2 events mainly featuring professional sailors with no age limits. Event co-chair Christine Robertson added, “I believe we’ll get Grade 2 status as we received in 2016, but heck, these young skippers are so good, if ranking points were the only criteria, we’d be at or close to Grade 1!”

Event details: http://www.govcupracing.com/

The Governor’s Cup will be sailed in BYC’s Governor’s Cup 22 sloops first used in 2016. Designed by former BYC Commodore Alan Andrews and built by Westerly Marine in nearby Santa Ana, they feature a “flat top” mainsail, masthead spinnaker, modern “T” keel and an “all up” weight of only 1470 lbs (666 kg).

Light and lively, they perform well in a wide range of wind often experienced over the course of a day of racing in the Pacific Ocean off Newport Beach. They were specifically designed to be sailed by a crew of either three or four, limited only by a total weight limit for the crews of 579 lbs (262.5 kg).

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