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NHYC’s start rough

Local sailors seeking club’s third straight title earn three points and tie for seventh after first day of action.

July 15, 2009

BY TONY LEE

NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Harbor Yacht Club, the two-time defending champion of the 43rd annual Governor’s Cup International Junior Match Racing Championship, started with a bang, but ended the first day of competition with a dud.

“It was good to come out in the first race against Royal Hamilton [Amateur Dinghy Club] and secure a good victory to get some of the butterflies out of our stomachs,” NHYC skipper Andrew Mason said. “We won by a pretty good margin so it made us very comfortable in the race and when we went against some very tough teams.”

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Despite being comfortable, NHYC won only two out of the next five races, giving them three points total and tied for seventh place on Wednesday.

“You can’t win the regatta on the first day, but we can certainly lose it,” Mason said. “All we have to do is make the final four [for Sunday] and we’re still in a good position to make that.”

NHYC bowman Brooks Clark said the team did fine, but made small tactical mistakes that cost them a couple points.

“It’s the small mistakes that screw you over the most,” he said.

NHYC middleman Peter Kinney, who replaced his friend Mac Mace because Mace had to leave for a sailing regatta in Europe before the Gov Cup ends, also said the team made minor mistakes.

“I think we attacked in a couple of bad spots,” Kinney said. “If we sail harder, sail smarter and basically make better decisions, we’ll be fine.”

The Gov Cup leader with six points is Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron of William Tiller, a team NHYC had a chance to beat.

“We had a good start against them, but they out-sailed us when we got off the starting line,” Mason said. “Royal New Zealand are very committed to their match race program, it’s their priority, and they showed that on the race course.”

Clark added that each one of its wins and losses reflected this year’s rich, international talent.

“All the teams out here deserve to be here, and deserve to be here, so there’s definitely no such thing as an easy win,” he said. “I think every win that we get shows our hard work and all of our practices paid off.”

Five other teams are tied for second with four points, including the hosts Balboa Yacht Club. Long Beach Yacht Club finished with zero points.

The seas were fairly flat and the skies cloudy when the junior sailors started racing about noon, but by 2 p.m. the skies were clear and the winds mild, never more than 10 knots. Spectator boats maintained polite distances from the race course and added to the busy scene.

Royal Yachting Association has four wins as does King Harbor Yacht Club and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The first all-girl team won two and lost four, having lost to their teammates from Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Day two of the Gov Cup is today and the first attention signal goes off at noon. All races can be view from the Newport Beach Pier.

Additional information is available at www.govcupracing.com.


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