FORT WORTH, TX – We learned a valuable lesson at last weekend’s US Youth Match Race Championship (aka the Rose Cup) – it ain't over 'til it's over, and never give up! It was a regatta our team of skipper David Wood, Catherine Reynolds, Max Brennan and myself representing the Balboa Yacht Club (Newport Beach, CA) will not soon forget. After a rough 0-4 start in the rounds robin we thought we were out of the running. At that point I figured we would end the regatta in the bottom five at best. Then we had a bye and used the time to talk to our coach and get dialed in as a team. Never, ever give up!
We made one major change – how we were going to start each race, by leading back instead of pushing. Our strategy was to be in front of our opponent off the starting line and then extend.
We went on to win 14 out of the next 15 matches, and swept the finals in a 3-0 blow out of Jack Parkin and his team from Riverside Yacht Club.
The event was held at the beautiful Forth Worth Boat Club in warm (nearly 100º each day) but perfect 9-12 knot conditions, with 10 teams, 40 sailors, and three amazing coaches – Mike Pinckney, Christophe Killian, and world-renowned match racer, five-time US Match Racing Champion and Artemis Racing's AC rules advisor Dave Perry. Before the regatta the coaches held an intensive two-day clinic that was a great learning experience for all of us.
During the clinic we learned better boat handling, how to sail the J/22s faster, and how to be much better match racers. The clinic made all of us better sailors in general, and match racers in particular, so that when it came time for the racing the competition was that much better for all of us – meaning we learned even more from racing with and against each other.
This event was the most intense match racing any of us had done. The race committee and umpiring were top-notch, and the club's hospitality was amazing. A huge thanks to the event team headed by Kim Chaumont. If you ever get a chance to sail at the Fort Worth Boat Club take it because it's a great venue, the members and staff are so welcoming, and the scene is through the roof!
I also want to thank Andy Rose for his vision in giving "yutes" (as he calls us) the chance to learn and grow in the sport of match racing that in the past has been dominated by adults. All of our team had a GREAT time and we will be back!
Superb photos courtesy of FWBC's Carolyn Cruz for US SAILING.
A happy Balboa YC team celebrate winning the Rose Cup finals 3-0. From left Jeffrey Petersen, Catherine Reynolds, skipper David Wood (white BYC shirt) and Max Brennan.