Christophe Killian, 20, of host Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California, won the 51st Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship with a 3-1 victory over New Zealand’s
Leonard Takahashi before a record number of spectator boats watching the action. Killian and his crew Harrison Vandervort,won five of their last seven races in the semi-finals and 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
eighteen-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, and 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 semi-finalists 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 semi-final.
Price, as the 6th ranked sailor in the World Sailing Open Match Racing rankings, was a favorite coming into the event but a few uncharacteristic mistakes resulted in his loss to the young Kiwi to
set up 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 3-1loss to Weis.