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GovCup: Photo of the week – classic match racing tactics, great young sailors, good sports

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – Thanks for your many kind comments about the expanded coverage we produced on Facebook Live during last week's 2017 Governor's Cup, especially the livestream of the racing ably led by Chris Bretschger. Chris is a BYC stalwart, a fellow teammate on IT'S OK!, and a co-founder of SAILING ILLUSTRATED. With the GovCup we learned a lot, and are making many improvements – especially to improve the dodgy internet connectivity out on the water caused, in part, by the unexpectedly large number of spectator boats overburdening the cell system we were using. Hopefully we will have that fixed before we go live again next week for the World Youth Match Racing Championship, World Sailing's event also being hosted this year by Balboa Yacht Club. More on all that tomorrow on our regular "Tuesdays with TFE" FB Live show at 1100 PDT via our SI Facebook Page,

In the meantime, below are a couple of cool Mary Longpre photos that I thought our Dear Readers would enjoy. If you were watching our live coverage of the racing you may remember this incident from the Killian-Takahashi semifinal on Saturday. By way of further explanation....

During a pre-start Leonard Takahashi (NZL, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) was leading back to the starting line with 1:30 or so to go, being pushed hard by Harry Price (AUS, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia) just astern. Leonard was fishtailing – the classic pre-start S-turn maneuvering by the yacht leading back that tries to "hook" the bow of the trailing yacht so as to gain luffing rights, while trying to keep the trailing yacht from getting their bow to leeward of you thereby hooking you – all the while gauging the time and distance to the starting line, knowing how much time you have to burn, and whether you want the committee boat (starboard) end of the line or pin (port) end.

(For our non-racing readers, in all types of short-course racing, determining and being at the favored end of the starting line is crucial. Is the line biased or square to the wind? What is the favored side of the first upwind leg due to wind strength on one side or the other, shifts coming down the track, the direction and strength of any current. or some combo of those factors. In a match race often times both boats want the same end of the line, and both are fighting to get it while preventing the other from getting it.)

After several such S-turns, Leonard was luffing up thinking he had hooked Harry's bow to windward. Harry thought his bow was still clear, and he bore away hard to swing his bow to leeward of Leonard's stern. But in a rare, and probably fatal error that all but ended his chances of winning the semifinal and hence the championship, Harry misjudged the position of his bow and smacked into the starboard quarter (right aft corner) of Leonard's hull. On ADIOS, Andy Rose and I (as the GovCupTV commentators) were probably 50 meters away and had an obstructed view, but we heard the bang, and could see from the drone cam shot on our monitor that Leonard had fallen overboard.

Later we learned that the collision caused Leonard to lose his balance, and as he fell backwards, his feet missed the hiking straps – over the side he went. Almost immediately Leonard's crew turned the boat around, picked him up, and the pre-start continued. The umpires penalized Price for breaking Rule 11, windward-leeward. Takahashi was a bit soggy at the start, but went on to win the match and the semifinal.

Leonard Takahashi falls overboard after the bow of Harry Price's boat (far left in this photo) struck the starboard quarter of Takahashi's boat, abruptly stopping Leonard's big bear away. Leonard's feet missed the hiking straps and he kept going – a split second before Mary Longpre snapped this.

Almost immediately Leonard's crew turned the boat around, picked him up, and the pre-start continued.

After Saturday evening's prizegiving, Harry's and Leonard's teams, good sports and friends that they are, were sitting together reliving the racing when your Ed. came by to show them these photos. They had a good laugh, and asked for the photos so they could post them to their own social media. Harry's hilarious comment: "In the second photo I was shouting an expletive, not about the penalty – there was no question we deserved it – but about the impact on my damage deposit."

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