Governor’s Cup 2016 – For the first time in its 50 year history, Balboa Yacht Club‘s Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank will include three former winners of the event. Requests for Invitation (“RFI’s”) have come from Sam Gilmour, Perth, Western Australia; Nevin Snow, San Diego, California; and Harry Price, Sydney, Australia.
The participation of these sailors and certain others expected to file RFI’s by the deadline is likely to allow the event to retroactively upgrade its current Grade three status to Grade two by the governing body of international sailboat racing, World Sailing. That move would add to the Gov Cup’s already considerable prestige as the oldest youth match racing event in the world and further increase the World Sailing rankings of skippers who place highly in the event.
Gilmour is currently ranked fifth in the non-age limited World Sailing “Open” rankings with Snow at 16th and Price at 30th. As former winners who are still age eligible, all three of those sailors received an automatic invitation upon filing of their RFI’s. Most of the rest of the skippers for the July 18-23 event will be chosen by the Governor’s Cup Selection Committee from other RFI’s filed by the deadline which is approaching at 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13.
“This early interest by world class young match racers will clearly make this the most competitive fleet ever. It seems fitting for the 50th Anniversary ‘Gov Cup’,” said Andy Rose, former two-time winner and Chair of the event’s Steering Committee.
Competitors who have not reached their 23rd birthday by July 23, 2016 may file an RFI on line at the event website (go to “Race Documents”) by the May 13 deadline and will be considered by the Committee with final invitees and alternates notified by no later than Friday, May 27. The winner of the United States Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup to be held in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in June will also receive an automatic invitation as will a representative of the host Balboa Yacht Club.
Twelve competitors will ultimately receive invitations from the Selection Committee with non-automatic invitations being selected based on skippers’ sailing resumes, success in similar international match racing events and international ranking with some consideration also given to international geographic diversity. Thirteen different countries from four continents have had teams in the event in its history with the United States, Australia and New Zealand providing the greatest number of entrants.
Each invited team will be provided with identical, new Governor’s Cup 22 sloops designed by BYC member and internationally known yacht designer, Alan Andrews, and built by Westerly Marine in Costa Mesa, California. The boats are state of the art small “sportboat” type keelboats with flat top mains, fractional jibs, masthead spinnakers, and open cockpits. They are lighter, longer and have more sail area than other boats used for similar events worldwide and are expected to provide plenty of challenges and excitement for the competitors. The boats are owned by the Newport Balboa Sailing and Seamanship Association. They were funded through contributions primarily from Balboa Yacht Club members but with an assist from one of the long time participant international yacht clubs, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, as well as friends of the Cup from the U.S. east coast.
The Governor’s Cup was founded in 1967 with a trophy donated by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan. Gov Cup alumni include some of the finest sailors in the world including James Spithill, two-time winning skipper of the America’s Cup, as well as a virtual Who’s Who of America’s Cup, Olympic and round the world race winners including nine sailors named U.S. Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and three members of the United States National Sailing Hall of Fame. The record of these alumni over the decades led to the “Pathway for Champions” motto adopted by the BYC for the Governor’s Cup in 2008.
This year’s 50th Anniversary celebrations will include the christening of the new boats, an alumni regatta, and the premiere of a retrospective feature movie produced by America’s Cup winning sailor, moviemaker and Emmy winning Olympic sailing and America’s Cup commentator Gary Jobson at Newport Beach’s historic Lido Theater. The actual Governor’s Cup regatta will begin with an opening dinner at BYC on Monday, July 18 which will feature crew introductions and an unprecedented visit from both the America’s Cup, in which so many Gov Cup alumni have sailed, and the Congressional Cup, which also shares many alumni and was the inspiration for the founding of the Governor’s Cup. This will be the first time these three iconic trophies have ever appeared together and if history is any guide, many of this year’s competitors will sail in and often win both in the future. Sam Gilmour already started on this path with a third place finish in this year’s Congressional Cup.
This appearance is perhaps only fitting as, in the words of Commodore Norbert Bajurin of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the current holder of the America’s Cup, “the Governor’s Cup is the America’s Cup for youth”.
by Nancy Mellon