NEWPORT BEACH — As the Governor's Cup sailors came into Balboa Yacht Club Thursday evening, they rushed to dock their boats and prepared to have some fun with a traditional event.
They went on the water again for a Beer Can Regatta. There are usually activities for the sailors after each day of the Governor's Cup, the prestigious junior match racing series.
On Wednesday night, there was a BBQ. Chris Steele, the skipper for Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and his countrymen also taught rugby to the Americans.
"The reception you get when you come off the water is great and so are the activities the club has planned," Steele said just before boarding Larry Walter's Cha Cha Cha for the Beer Cans. "Everyone is so friendly off the water, but it's more business out there."
Steele, along with Scott Barnes (middle) and George Brasell (bow) were businesslike during the second day of the 47th Gov Cup.
RNZYS finished the round-robin series tied for first place with Sam Gilmour's Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club of Australia with a 10-1 record. Ryan Davidson's Balboa Yacht Club finished the round robin 9-2.
The 12 teams have gotten a lot of races in within the first two days.
Steele, Gilmour and Davidson each won their first quarterfinal race, which is also a round-robin series to determine the semifinalists.
Newport Harbor Yacht Club also recorded a quarterfinal win in the final race of the day. Chicago Yacht Club, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, San Francisco Yacht Club and defending champion Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club are also in the quarterfinals.
"It was an interesting day," Steele said. "It was a lot less breeze than [Tuesday]. With the conditions [winds around 8-10 knots] the way they were it was a lot more of an even playing field. A few starts, it was really difficult."
Starts were as crucial as ever during Thursday's races, Steele said.
Steele, Gilmour and Davidson were undefeated after the first day.
BYC beat Gilmour Thursday.
But BYC had lost to Steele and Royal Port Nicholson of Wellington, New Zealand.
Steele was left as the only undefeated skipper before racing against Gilmour.
Gilmour said it was a type of race that could reveal what Royal Freshwater Bay could be during the rest of the regatta. Royal Freshwater Bay stepped up with the win.
So with that, is Royal Freshwater Bay the team to beat in the Gov Cup?
"I guess you could say that, but we did lose to the locals, Davidson," Gilmour said. "We thought we did a good job at the start but they managed to get ahead of us."
Even though BYC lost twice, Davidson said BYC remained confident.
"I think we were still positive about it," Davidson said. "We learned from our mistakes. We knew exactly where we messed up and we fixed it."
Mistakes, or staying away from errors will be key during the quarterfinals and the rest of the competition, Steele said.
"We have been talking about it this week," Steele said. "We know we can't make any mistakes, because if you do these guys are good enough that they will punish you."