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GovCup: Leonard Takahashi (NZL) leads, barely, over Harry Price (AUS), but Jack Parkin (USA) makes n

NEWPORT BEACH, CA (#1069) – Just when it looked like Balboa Yacht Club’s 52nd Annual Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship last year’s four semi- finalists would make a repeat appearance in those same roles, U.S. Youth Match Racing Champion (USYMRC), Jack Parkin (USA), and U.S. Intercollegiate Match Racing Champion, Scott Sinks (USA), came on strong.

While the number-one ranked match racing skipper in the world, Australian Harry Price, slipped to second behind his arch-rival, New Zealand’s Leonard Takahashi, the two GovCup veterans in the oldest youth match racing series in the world are still on top, but barely, on scores of eleven wins (Takahashi) and ten and a half wins (Price). Price had a half point deducted due to a collision during Tuesday’s racing that caused damage to another boat.

After struggling in the first Round Robin, Parkin caught fire today. Starting Round Robin 2 this afternoon, he faced both leaders with odds stacked against him – given Price’s ranking and Takahashi’s unbeaten record in every major youth match racing event in Australia and New Zealand since the last GovCup. Parkin’s learning curve was quite steep, but he handily beat both to be the story of the day.

The last race of the six flights completed by the Balboa Yacht Club Race Committee today pitted Parkin against defending GovCup Champion, Christophe Killian, then at nine wins. Interest was high to see if “Jack the Giant Slayer” could complete the trifecta by beating all the leaders and favorites in the championship. It was not crucial for Killian to win that race given his point total and the likelihood that he would ultimately gain a semi-final berth. Accomplished sailors like Killian tend to rise to the occasion. In this case he did, beating Parkin with relative ease. That left Killian with ten wins and Parkin with eight.

Parkin’s performance today should not have been a surprise. After his USYMRC win in June, five-time United States Match Racing Champion and coach, Dave Perry, said, “This kid is the real deal.” Perry was, yet again, proven right today.

San Diego Yacht Club’s Scott Sinks had been a “sleeper” during the first two days but has consistently been able to put points on the board and is now in sixth place with seven wins. Will Boulden (AUS) and Matt Whitfield (GBR) are just behind with six wins. With eight races to go in Round Robin 2, and after many of the upsets that began in the second Round Robin, the fight for the last semi-final spot will be intense.

Today’s wind was light, averaging five to nine knots. However, the purpose-built GovCup 22s provided to the competitors met the challenge. Built locally by Westerly Marine, most competitors agree they are the best boats among all those used in various match racing events around the world.

It is likely that Round Robin 2 will be complete by midday Friday, at which time the four semi-finalists will start the “knock out” semifinals to determine the two skippers who will sail in the GovCup finals on Saturday. Killian and Price will be looking to join ten other sailors who have won twice the GovCup’s 52-year history.

Jack Parkin (USA) was the story of Day 2 at the GovCup, presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank, after defeating both the world number-one ranked match racing sailor (of any age), Harry Price (AUS), and GovCup leader Leonard Takahashi (NZL). Price and Takahashi remain at the top of the leaderboard, barely, which tightened considerably today on the strength of Parkin’s performance. Photo: Tom Walker

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