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Youth Match Racing Worlds: Price (AUS) wins round robin stage, picks Hobbs (USA) for semis; Anyon (N

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – Harry Price (AUS), George Anyon (NZL), Ettore Botticini (ITA), and American Greiner Hobbs (Tampa, FL) emerged from the field of 12 teams from nine countries to advance to Saturday’s semifinals in the Youth Match Racing World Championship hosted by Balboa Yacht Club.

“It’s not ever easy deciding who to pick,” said Price at Friday evening’s post-race press conference. “We’re feeling confident after racing this week, so we just decided to choose someone that we have beaten twice.”

Hobbs and Botticini began Friday tied for third with 10 wins behind Price and Anyon, with local favorite Charlie Welsh (Newport Beach, CA) in fifth place still having a fighting chance of advancing. But Hobbs secured early wins to solidify his position in the semifinals. Botticini stumbled against a much-improved French team skippered by Cyril Fortin. However, Welsh could not seal the deal, falling to Johanna Bergqvist (SWE).

Price entered the day with an unblemished record and advanced to the semifinals as the number one seed on a record of 20-2. But it certainly was not a picnic cruise for the world #6 ranked match racer (of any age). While Price’s excellent boat speed shone during come-from-behind victories against the two American teams, his perfect record eventually fell to Felix Jacobsen of Denmark who has been near the bottom of the leaderboard all week. The Danes held on for a hard-earned two-boat length victory after a late onslaught of jibes from Price.

Price then lost a closely contested match to Italy's Botticini, so perhaps it is not a surprise he chose Hobbs over Botticini for his semifinal.

In the final race of the day, and the round robins, and with their respective semifinal spots secured, Price and second-seeded Anyon squared off in their second match of the Championship. Price had won the first. In this match Price had the better of his opponent in an aggressive prestart, starting clear ahead of Anyon. In the steadily building afternoon breeze under typical Newport Beach bluebird sailing conditions, Price and his crew stretched their lead to win the four-leg, 20-minute match by four boat lengths.

The best-of-five semifinals will begin Saturday at 1130 PDT, followed by a best-of-five final. As with today’s racing, TV coverage will be livestreamed on BYC’s Facebook page,, free of charge, and no Facebook account required.

Nice gallery of photos from Friday's racing here, and from Friday evening's press conference here, courtesy of Tom Walker.

In the match of the top two teams at the end of Round Robin 2, Harry Price (AUS, foreground) dominated George Anyon (NZL, background) at the Youth Match Racing World Championship hosted by Balboa Yacht Club off Newport Beach, CA. The best-of-five semifinals and finals will be raced Saturday.

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