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Our Story

For over 90 years, the Balboa Yacht Club has served to encourage yacht racing and cruising, promoted the science of seamanship and navigation, and provided a beautiful clubhouse and marina for the educational, recreational, and social use of its members, families, and guests.

Our Story

California Governor (later US President) Ronald Reagan granted the Deed of Gift for the Governor’s Cup to Balboa Yacht Club in 1967 “for the purpose of encouraging Youth Racing in the State of California and the recognition of the skill and high performance of those men and women under twenty years of age…” As an invitation only match racing regatta, the Governor’s Cup was established by the late Chet and Glee Purcell. Mr. and Mrs. Purcell had a vision that a national match racing competition should be created for younger sailors, similar in format to the internationally recognized Congressional Cup Regatta. 

As the years progressed, the Governor’s Cup grew in popularity with its first international team participating in 1989. Since then teams from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Finland and Spain have participated and become regular entrants and often multiple winners. The Cup has served as a gateway for future champions in collegiate competition, the Olympics, Congressional Cup, Swedish Match Tour and numerous America’s Cups. 

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The Governor’s Cup has a special relationship with the America’s Cup with the latter having visited Balboa Yacht Club during “Gov Cup Week” twice in recent years. Norbert Bajurin, Commodore of the current holder of the America’s Cup, said it best, “The Governor’s Cup is the America’s Cup for youth.” Truer words were never spoken. BYC can be very proud of this illustrious history and its alumni from fourteen countries and territories around the world. When you watch this and every year’s Governor’s Cup, you are seeing some of the future stars of the sport. 

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Pathway for Champions

If the sailing careers of decades of Governor's Cup alumni are any guide, the GovCup is truly a "Pathway for Champions." Below are profiles of some of the great sailors and world champions that have sailed in the Governor's Cup and gone on to the America's Cup, the Olympic Games, the World Match Race Tour, and, in what has to be the event most different from the GovCup, the Round the World Race!

Argyle Campbell


Argyle Campbell of Newport Beach, California, won the first two Governor's Cups in 1967 and 1968, sailing for the Balboa Yacht Club. He was also a two-time All American sailor at the University of Southern California while beginning his match racing career, but hit the big time in match racing soon after his Gov Cup wins.

In 1970 and 1972, Argyle won Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup, with a crew that included Andy Rose (winner of the '69 and '70 Gov Cup).


Argyle continues one-design sailing to this day, including a world corinthian championship in the Melges 24 class and multiple championships in the Etchells class.

Previous Winners

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