The 49th Annual International Junior Match Racing Championship will be held at Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach, California from July 20-25. Three teams will come from Australia, including skippers Lachy Gilmour from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Harrison Price from Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Sarah Parker from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Leonard Fry will lead the team from Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron while Lucas Chatonnier will be the skipper for the team from New Caledonia.
Southern California teams to be included are two from Orange County with Jack Thompson representing Newport Harbor Yacht Club, and the team from the host club led by Christophe Killian. Other Southern California teams include Chris Weis from Del Rey Yacht Club and two from San Diego Yacht Club with A.J. Reiter and Scott Sinks as skippers. Coming from Chicago Yacht Club will be Will Curtiss and his team. There will be two female skippers this year. In addition to Sarah, Annabel Vose will lead her team from the Royal Southern Yacht Club in England.
Some of the teams were selected by their final standing in the recent U.S. Youth Match Championship for the Rose Cup, held at BYC in June. BYC’s Christophe Killian was victorious in the event for the second year. Scott Sinks from SDYC placed second, Christopher Weis from DRYC placed third, while Thompson from NHYC placed seventh of the twelve teams, and all were invited to compete in the Gov Cup. A.J. Reiter was part of Scott Sinks team, but is an experienced skipper himself and was invited to compete as well. A.J. was also a part of the second place team in the 2014 Gov Cup. BYC’S Governor’s Cup is the oldest junior match race event in the world. The first event was held in 1967, two years after the first Congressional Cup was held at Long Beach Yacht Club. Inspired by that Match Racing format, BYC members Chet and Glee Purcell organized the Gov Cup to provide similar competition for their son, S/C Tom Purcell and his friends. Tom will be co-chairing the 2016 50th Governor’s Cup with Paul Blank. Racing competition was raced using matching Cal 25’s on loan for the event. Winning the first and second Gov Cup for BYC was Argylle Campbell who started in Sabots at BYC and later was an All-American Skipper for USC and twice won the Congressional Cup as well as many other major events. The third and fourth years, Andy Rose, representing BYC, was the winner. Andy went on to a variety of top level competitions, including serving as tactician in the America’s Cup. The Purcell’s were able to involve then Governor Ronald Reagan, who made it possible for the Trophy to be named the Governor’s Cup. They continued to support the event throughout their lives.
The Gov Cup is known as the “Pathway for Champions” with many alumni going on to America’s Cup and other worldwide sailing success including the most recent Congressional Cup Champion, Taylor Canfield, who successfully defended his 2014 Con Cup win. He led his team from the US Virgin Islands in both the 2007 and 2008 Governor’s Cups. Another Gov Cup Alum, James Spithill, won the America’s Cup in 2010 and 2013. His visit to BYC during the 2012 Gov Cup was an exciting experience for the racers and supporters.
The first female skipper of a team was Mary Griffin who led her team from Los Angeles Yacht Club in 1969. In 1991, Giselle Camet from San Diego Yacht Club became the first female winner. In 1988, the first team that was selected from outside of the United States was invited to compete. That team, from Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron came in fourth. While the next year the team led by Mark Christiansen, came in first. Since that time, teams have come from England, Australia, Finland, Bermuda, Brazil, Ireland, Sweden, Argentina and Canada.
Competitors must be twenty-one years of age or younger and are chosen from requests for invitation received from around the world by a selection committee led by Bill Wakeman. Their resumes are reviewed and compared to choose the most deserving. United States teams that have earned their way to the Gov Cup by finishing in the top three at the US Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup, held this year from June 17-21 at Balboa Yacht Club. Originating at BYC in 2010, the event has been held yearly in different parts of the United States. This year the Rose Cup has been officially recognized by US Sailing as the Official US Youth Match Racing championship. Dave Perry, four time US Match Racing Champion and Congressional Cup Winner, provided a two day match racing clinic for the competitors, followed by some exciting competition in our Governor’s Cup 21’s designed by S/C Alan Andrews.
Over the 49 years of competition, the racing has been held using a variety of boats, including Cal 25’s, Solings, Santana 20’s and Holder 20’s. Then in 2002, S/C Alan Andrews designed the Gov Cup 21’s which became the official boats for the event starting in 2003 with the construction funded by BYC members. While the boats have served us well, new boats have been designed and will be built for the 50th Governor’s Cup in 2016 and a fund raising campaign led by Andy Rose is nearing completion. Alan Andrews has again provided the design for the Governor’s Cup 22 which will accommodate a crew of four women, three men or a three or four person co-ed team. New ideas and new materials will result in a lighter boat with more sail area.
The 50th Anniversary celebrations will include the christening of the new boats, a retrospective movie on 50 years of the Governor’s Cup by Gary Jobson, and alumni regatta and many other events.
by Nancy Mellon