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GovCup Day 4: Jack Parkin (USA) and Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) go 1-1 in their Semi-final

Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) had a good day Friday, advancing to the semi-finals and then going 1-1 with Jack Parkin (USA). In the other Semi, pre-regatta favorite Leonard Takahashi (NZL) lost two 4 races to Frank Dair (USA). The Semis, first-to-win-three-races, continue on Saturday, followed by the first-to-three Finals. Live coverage of the racing will resume Saturday morning at 11:30 Pacific on

GovCup Day 4: Jack Parkin (USA) and Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) go 1-1

in their Semi-final, while Frank Dair (USA) is up 2-0 over pre-regatta

favorite Leonard Takahashi (NZL) in the other; Semis resume Saturday

morning at 11:30 PST followed by the Finals

After four days of racing, the leaderboard of the 53rd Governor’s Cup

International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted by Balboa

Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California, and presented by DISC Spine

and Sports Center, finally sorted itself out and the semi-final matches

began, but not without some high drama.

The double round-robin stage of the championship, where each team

sailed against every other team twice, was completed by mid-afternoon

Friday. After leading that stage for all four days, two-time Governor’s

Cup runner-up Leonard Takahashi of the Royal New Zealand Yacht

Squadron qualified first, and as is typical in modern match racing, was

given the privilege of choosing his opponent. He chose the fourth

qualifier, Frank Dair (USA, California YC) and may live to regret that

choice. After two semi-final races, he trails Dair by a 2-0 score in the

first-to-win-three series.

If anyone can come back from that kind of deficit, it is Leonard and his

experienced crew of Josh Wijohn and Taylor Balogh. But Dair was on a

roll. To date, consistency may not be Dair’s strong suit, or at least it

wasn’t during the round-robins. After a reasonable first day, on

Wednesday Dair jumped to the top of the leaderboard just behind

Takahashi, but almost sailed himself out of semi-final contention by

losing his first two races Thursday. Clearly, he bounced back today, but

can he put it together tomorrow?

The other semi-final matched Jack Parkin (USA, Riverside YC) against

another product of the RNZYS youth development programs, Nick

Egnot-Johnson. After their two races today, they are tied at 1-1. Jack is

a former U.S. Youth Match Racing Champion and he and his tactician,

Wiley Rogers (USA, Texas), are former World Youth Champions in the

International 420 Class. “Nick EJ” was the most successful youth match

racer in Australia and New Zealand regattas in the past year, and also

won the U.S. “Grand Slam” match racing series.

With six teams still in contention at the start of today’s racing, two

were going to be on the outside looking in with only four semi-final

spots on offer. Perhaps the most dramatic result was that of the

youngest RNZYS sailor, Jordan Stevenson (NZL), who lost each of the

last two round-robin races. In approaching the finish of those races

against Jeppe Borch (DEN) and Finn Tapper (AUS), respectively, both of

the latter were able to do a last-minute gybe towards the Race

Committee boat end of the finish line. That end was slightly closer than

the opposite “pin” end, and in doing so, edged Stevenson by a few feet

in one case and a few inches in the other. His head in his hands after

each told the story, but Stevenson has three more years to try to win

the Governor’s Cup. Many observers would lay odds he would achieve

his goal.

Tomorrow will continue with the semi-finals, plus best two-of-three

series for those skippers who are not semi-finalists. These to determine

their final overall placing – 5 th place finisher in the round-robins,

Tapper, will sail against the 6 th place finisher, Stevenson; local favorite

and Balboa YC representative, David Wood, in 7 th against Matt

Whitfield (UK) in 8 th ; Clare Costanzo (AUS) in 9 th place against U.S.

Youth Match Racing champion Cameron Feves of Cabrillo Beach YC in

10 th ; and finally, an all Scandinavian match between Borch versus Mans

Holmberg (SWE) for the 11 th and 12 th positions.

While these are often called consolation rounds, each finish position is

important to these sailors as it will affect points earned in World

Sailing’s “Open Match Racing Rankings,” especially because it is likely

the GovCup will again be granted “Grade 1” status by World Sailing –

increasing the point value of each position.

Typical Southern California conditions prevailed Friday with southwest

breeze from 6-9 knots. Saturday’s forecast is for slightly more breeze,

but the Governor’s Cup 22s have performed well in all conditions.

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Susan Kenney

+1 949 294 2054

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