Governor’s Cup regatta in Newport Beach announces date and rule changes for 2021

Alastair Gifford, skipper Nick Egnot-Johnson and Sam Barnett at the Balboa Yacht Club in 2019.
Alastair Gifford, skipper Nick Egnot-Johnson and Sam Barnett, from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, hoist the Governor’s Cup trophy at the Balboa Yacht Club in 2019. Under a temporary rule change, Egnot-Johnson is eligible to defend his title in 2021.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship, which was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is hoping to return next summer with new dates of competition.

The regatta, which is the oldest youth match racing championship in the world, will be held July 26 through 31 in Newport Beach, the Balboa Yacht Club announced Monday.

The Governor’s Cup was previously scheduled for July 19 through 24, but was pushed back a week as Balboa Yacht Club also has been selected to host the Youth Match Racing World Championships next summer. That regatta is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 9 through 14, which would allow for a weeklong break between racing for the all-volunteer event staff.

This will be the second time that Balboa Yacht Club will host both major regattas. The first was in 2017.

The club also announced a one-year rule change, approved by the Board of Directors, for next year’s 54th annual Governor’s Cup event. Regatta rules state that no competitor may have reached his or her 23rd birthday by the last day of each year’s competition.

However, due to this year’s event being canceled, requests for invitation for next year’s Governor’s Cup will be accepted from 2020 invitees who are otherwise qualified but don’t meet that cutoff date.

The temporary rule change would allow 2019 Governor’s Cup champion Nick Egnot-Johnson of New Zealand to compete and defend his title, instead of aging out of the competition.

“The selection committee did a great job and invited a truly amazing group of ‘Grade 1' level skippers for 2020 who sadly didn’t get to compete this year,” said Andy Rose, chair of the Governor’s Cup Steering Committee, in a statement. “We hope that the cancellation after 53 consecutive years of competition will never happen again, but in this unusual situation, we thought it was important to try to do something for these skippers even if they miss the age deadline next year ... In all other respects, the rules will stay the same as will the selection process, including the automatic invitations.”

Ted Blowers of Great Britain, who would be a first-time competitor, could also request an invitation given the rule change. Governor’s Cup Chair Christine Robertson Gribben said that Blowers’ record is excellent and he may be invited if he continues that success.

All crew members next year must still meet the normal age limit deadline, even if they’re sailing with a skipper who benefits from the rule change.

Teams in both the Governor’s Cup and Youth Match Racing World Championships will be provided with 12 “Governor’s Cup 22" sailboats, first used in the 50th anniversary of the Governor’s Cup in 2016.

The Notice of Race, event brochure and information on requesting an invitation for the 2021 Governor’s Cup will be posted at in January.


Support our sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.

For more sports stories, visit or follow us on Twitter @DailyPilotSport.