Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Governor's Cup Winning Team is RNZYS Boys

The RNZYS boys winning team on the water: Shaun Mason, William Tiller, and Harry Thurston. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

by Nancy Mellon

And the winners are the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Men's team of William Tiller, Helm, Harry Thurston, Middle and Shaun Mason, Bow. The defending champion Newport Harbor Yacht Club team of Andrew Mason, Peter Kinney and Brooks Clark provided strong competition throughout, winning the second race of the three of the finals. The RNZYS had only lost one race during the week, to Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, until NHYC won one in the finals. When the winners returned to the harbor, they were greeted by the Harbor Department boat spraying a huge fountain of water. At the BYC dock, the cannons roared, the horns blared and the cheers were loud.

The top four teams after the two complete round robins raced in a Semi-Final Knock-Out. The first place skipper, William Tiller, of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, chose which of the other three to race against. He chose Dillon Lancaster of King Harbor Yacht Club and defeated him in two races. The remaining two skippers, Jay Griffith from Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Andrew Mason from Newport Harbor Yacht Club raced each other. In a best two out of three race competition, NHYC prevailed over the undefeated team of the second round robin and went on to race RNZYS.

RNZYS Boys - winners of the event. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

In the finals between NHYC and RNZYS, the close competition was exciting to watch, as the boats rounded marks only seconds apart. RNZYS won the first race, but in the second, NHYC prevailed after they won the start and rounded some of the marks ahead of RNZYS, despite having to make a penalty turn. There were a couple of lead changes in that race, keeping everyone on their toes and the spectators enthralled. In the last race, William Tiller won the start, but was passed by Andrew Mason, who led at the first mark, but Tiller was able to pass them, and led by 21 seconds at the second weather mark, and won by 20 seconds.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron helmsmen have been winning the Governor's Cup since the competition was opened up to other countries besides the United States in 1988. Mark Christensen in 1989, Kelvin Harrap in 1990, Andy Estcourt in 1995, and Simon Minoprio in 2001. The 2009 team joins a remarkable group of racers.

The Brits on the back foot against King Harbor Yacht Club. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

As the final races were happening, some of the other competitors joined their coaches and spectators on nearby boats, and a few of them were sailing nearby. Some of the racers and watchers went swimming and enjoyed the beautiful day, flat seas and light winds before returning to the dock.

At Sunday's Award presentation, the top three teams received silver bowls. Each racer received a silver frame with a photo of their team in action during the racing. In addition, each racer in the regatta will receive a cd with a collection of photos from the event, as well as their team photo from Mary Longpre, the official photographer. Tom Purcell presented the Chet Purcell Good Sportsmanship Award to the Royal Yachting Association for their cooperation and help during the event. Tom's father, Chet, was the original organizer of the event in 1967. Then Governor, Ronald Reagan donated the Cup only a few months after taking office.

In a special Saturday evening awards ceremony, Commodore Alan Andrews of Balboa Yacht Club, the designer of the Gov Cup 21 boats used in the regatta, presented preliminary awards, with the help of the Regatta Co-Chair, Judi Gorski. Having two women skippers in the competition, Caitlyn Ybarra of BYC and Susannah Pyatt of RNZYS, was unusual in the event, although not unprecedented. In 2005, Silja Lehtinen, the skipper of the Nylandska Jaktklubben team from Helsinki, Finland reached the Final Four, and then the Final Two, but was defeated in the third race by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club team that included Thomas Spithill and Murray Gordon, two famous names in sailing. Silja attended Newport Harbor High School as a foreign exchange student, so had local knowledge.

One of the sponsors this year chose to honor the more successful female skipper and her team with beautiful Kaenon Polarized sunglasses. Caitlyn and her Balboa Yacht Club team of Walker Banks and Brandon Wood were honored to receive them. The first place team at the end of the round robin series, William Tiller, Harry Thurston and Shaun Mason of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, also received Kaenon sunglasses.

Saturday afternoon, after the finish of the double round robin, the start of the Consolation Round of races was held. In the last race on Saturday afternoon, Graham Shelton, the bowman of the San Francisco Yacht Club Team, reached for the spinnaker pole near the windward mark, and fell off the boat. The Skipper, Nicholas Dugdale, immediately came back around to pick him up, while Alex Butti, the Middle, pulled him aboard as they went by. They had been far ahead of their opponents of the Long Beach Yacht Club before the accident. Graham’s head came out of the water just in time to watch the other boat pass him. They caught up but were unable to pass the LBYC team, so lost the first of their races against LBYC with Ian Paice at the helm. Graham said it was the most devastating thing to ever happen to him. Also that it was much harder to accomplish his tasks while dripping wet.

Southern Yacht Club. Image copyright Mary Longpre/Longpre Photos.

The final standings at the end of the two Round Robins:
1st Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, 2nd Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Men, 3rd Newport Harbor Yacht Club, 4th King Harbor Yacht Club, 5th Royal Yachting Association, 6th Mission Bay Yacht Club, 7th San Francisco Yacht Club, 8th Long Beach Yacht Club, 9th Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, 10th Balboa Yacht Club, 11th Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Women,12th Southern Yacht Club

The skippers finishing fifth through twelfth qualified for a Consolation Round, with the first to have 2 wins being the victor. Five and six raced each other with the winner placing fifth. Seven and eight raced each other for seventh place, nine and ten for ninth and eleven and twelve for eleventh place.

In the first race of the Consolation Round, Southern YC, with Michael Levert at the helm, won their race against the RNZYS girls team. As the racing continued, the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, with Lance Fraser driving, defeated the host team, BYC under the direction of Caitlin Ybarra. Sam Goodchild of The Royal Yachting Association led his team to a win over Mission Bay Yacht Club, led by Scott Hoffman.

In almost ideal conditions throughout the week, the schedule of races went off smoothly. On the first day, six flights of eleven races each were held. Four flights were completed on the second day. Then on the third day, the final flight of the first round robin was completed, as well as six flights of the second round. On Saturday, the second round robin was completed.

The final standings at the end of the Regatta:
1st - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
2nd - Newport Harbor Yacht Club
3rd - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Men
4th - King Harbor Yacht Club
5th - Royal Yachting Association
6th - Mission Bay Yacht Club
7th - Long Beach Yacht Club
8th - San Francisco Yacht Club
9th - Balboa Yacht Club
10th - Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club
11th - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Women
12th - Southern Yacht Club

The top two US teams in the final Governor's Cup standings will be invited to New Zealand in February for the International Youth Match Racing Series at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the home base of the team in the lead for the Gov Cup. Newport Harbor Yacht Club and King Harbor Yacht Club will be the top two US teams, since the other two teams in the final four are from New Zealand and Australia.

Governor's Cup

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