The 46th Annual Balboa YC Governor’s Cup Youth Match Race was held this weekend in typical mid-summer southern California conditions, nice enough on Saturday for “Windward Passage” to be sailing around the outside of the course (pic below). The quality of the competition was perhaps the best ever with the Royal Port Nicholson YC team of Tim Coltman, skipper, crew of Adam Middleton and James de Lisle winning, 2nd was RNZYS team of David Hazard, skipper, crew of Scott Barnes and Michael Boucher, and third was Cruising Yacht Club of Australia team of Ashlen Rooklyn, skipper, crew of Byron White and Jack Breslin. Full results here
Consider this for the depth of the fleet: Jordan Reece from the Royal Sydney YS finished second in the Alpari World Match Race Tour regatta in Chicago last weekend, being beaten by only Ian Williams, who sits atop the ISAF match racing rankings in the current ISAF. Royal Sydney YS did not qualify for the Governor’s Cup semi-finals.
While the racing is the reason for the regatta, the Governor’s Cup is about more than just sailing. The Governor’s Cup was founded by Chet and Glee Purcell, designed to mirror the Long Beach YC’s Congressional Cup. The idea was to provide a platform for youth sailors to gain match racing experience so that later on they could compete in the Congressional and America’s Cup’s. Indeed, names like Spithill, Kostecki, Honey, Cayard, and THutch have all sailed in the Governor’s Cup, but never won it.
This edition of the Governor’s Cup was special because the America’s Cup was on display on Friday, along with Golden Gate YC Vice Commodore Tom Ehman providing his Cupdate show to the crowd of over 400 people.
Even better than the America’s Cup being at the regatta and the Cupdate show, was the special surprise appearance of Jimmy Spithill for the Saturday morning skipper briefing. Jimmy spoke to the 36 sailors about how important the Governor’s Cup had been to his match racing career. He told the story of how at age 19 he was given Syd Fisher’s ACC boat, basically because Syd had paid the entry fee to that regatta, but was never able to raise the multi-millions to compete against the big teams, so he gave the boat to Jimmy to sail in the Louis Vuitton Cup, if he could figure out the rest of the equation. Jimmy said it was a matter of pure luck that he had been in the right place at the right time in order to get the helm of a boat that was going to be entered into the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Jimmy told a story about the important friendships that are made through the Governor’s Cup. The teams from his home club in Australia have always been housed with the Stoughton family, seen pictured here with Balboa YC Commodore Judy Gorski, Jimmy, Doris Stoughton, and Governor’s Cup Patron Andy Rose. Jimmy told a funny story about the benefits of post race decompression in the Stoughton hot tub, while Doris told a funny story at the bar about Jimmy’s shoes that were rather aromatic, for which she requested they be kept outside of the house.
Jimmy continued on with questions prompted by Tom Ehman about the value of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, which would create a natural stepping stone into the America’s Cup, rather then the pure luck he stumbled into when he started in his America’s Cup sailing career. Combine the Governor’s Cup with other youth match racing events around the world, add in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and the path of the America’s Cup is now far more well defined than in the past for young sailors. Jimmy Spithill went from sailing in the Governor’s Cup to winning the America’s Cup in a relatively short period of time. Who will be the next Governor’s Cup sailor to win the America’s Cup? –