Knots Racing won the 53rd Annual Governor’s Cup at the Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach California after beating fellow Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron outfit Pacific Racing Team 3-2 in an epic final.
It rounded off a dramatic day in which Nick Egnot-Johnson, Sam Barnett and Alistair Gifford came back from a 2-1 deficit in their semifinal with American Jack Parkin but they took advantage of the light conditions to claim another regatta victory.
It comes on the back of their win at the Match Race Germany and OM International Ledro Match Race in Italy. Egnot-Johnson went into the regatta with a career-high world ranking of seventh.
The Govenor's Cup was another illustration of the strength of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's development programmes, with three of the semifinalists from the famous club. They also had four of the top five teams and Jordan Stevenson's Vento Racing were awarded the sportsmanship award.
Leonard Takahashi, Taylor Balogh and Josh Wijohn's Pacific Racing Team looked like the team to beat after topping qualifying but they had to come back from a 2-0 deficit in their semifinal against Frankie Dair, Matt Leydon and Niall Malone (members of the RNZYS youth training programme).
They then recovered from a 2-0 deficit in the final against Knots Racing to take it to a decider. Pacific Racing Team showed good speed downwind as the breeze filled in to set up an epic showdown.
After a tight start, it was Egnot-Johnson who had the lead on the first upwind leg and was untroubled after Takahashi incurred a penalty for hitting the top mark on the first leg.
“We’re super stoked, absolutely thrilled to come away with the win," Egnot-Johnson said. "The breeze was lighter at the start of the final and we got 2-0 up on Len, but as soon as the breeze came up he was sailing the boat so fast and he managed to take a couple of races off us.
"Then it came down to one big finale race. We managed to get the right off the start and the boys were sailing so quick around the course. We got that last one over the line.”
The team will now enjoy a couple of weeks back in New Zealand before heading to the Youth Match Racing world championships in Russia (August 11-17), the M32 world championships at Lake Garda (Aug 26-30), the Oakcliff International Match Race Regatta in New York (Sept 1-4) and the Thompson Cup Match Racing.
- Pic: The winning team of Alistair Gifford, Sam Barnett and Nick Egnot-Johnson. Photo: Andrew Delves / RNZYS