NEWPORT BEACH, CA – Christophe Killian, 20, of the host Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach, California, won the 51st Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over New Zealand’s Leonard Takahashi before a record number of spectator boats watching the action and a global TV audience on Facebook Live. Killian and crew Harrison Vandervort and Jack Martin reached the finals with a 3-0 win over Christopher Weis of Del Rey Yacht Club, Marina del Rey, California.
Killian would be the first to admit that it wasn’t easy. While he won the first race against Takahashi with relative ease, the 18-year-old New Zealander came right back to tie the series with a win in race two.
This morning Takahashi arrived at the club with a big smile and said, “I was so excited last night I couldn’t go to sleep.” Clearly sleep wasn’t an issue. Takahashi also pointed out, “I love to be the underdog.”
Australia’s Harry Price, winner of the double round robin portion of the event – where every team sails against every other team twice – chose his opponent from among the semifinalists as is the practice in modern match racing events. Many observers predicted that he would choose the youngest sailor in the group, Takahashi, and he did so. But, like many such choices, sometimes they go terribly wrong; in this case, Price may regret that decision as Takahashi beat Price 3-1 in their semifinal.
Price, as World Sailing's sixth-ranked match racer, was a favorite coming into the event but a few uncharacteristic mistakes resulted in his loss to the young Kiwi to set up the what turned out to be an exciting Killian-Takahashi final.
Price and Weis sailed the petit final to determine third place. Price’s difficulties continued in a 3-1 loss to Weis.
GovCup 2017 winners Christophe Killian, Harrison Vandervort and Jack Martin. It's the first win for a BYC team since 1980, almost four decades. TFE photo.