Killian seeks repeat in Rose Cup


All signs point to a repeat victory in the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for local sailors Christophe Killian, Harrison Vandervort and Jack Martin.

But Killian, the skipper out of Corona del Mar High, says going back-to-back can’t be a predictable event, even though this year’s event, also known as the Rose Cup, will be competed in their home waters.

This year’s Rose Cup is hosted by Balboa Yacht Club. Racing begins Friday morning in the Pacific Ocean, off Newport Beach.


“[A repeat,] that’s what we’re hoping,” said Killian, 18, who will be a sophomore at College of Charleston in the fall. “There are different people we have never raced against, so you never know. There never can be a favorite. We see ourselves very much as a contender. But you never know.”

There are 12 teams in the Rose Cup, including one skippered by Jack Thompson, who went to school with Killian and sailed for the Sea Kings.

The top three skippers earn invitations to the 49th annual Governor’s Cup, the international youth match racing regatta, July 17-21 in Newport Beach.

Because BYC is hosting the Rose Cup, Killian believes there is a sense of pride to win the event.

“To an extent, yes,” Killian said. “We want to perform for our home yacht club. But we don’t want to be under pressure. That might hurt us.”

The U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship is much like the Gov Cup, as it is based on invitation and the event will be sailed in Governor’s Cup 21 sailboats.

Also the sailors must be at least 16 and no older than 20 years old in 2015.

Last year, the event founders and the Rose Cup committee, under the direction of US Sailing Match Racing Committee Chair and four-time U.S. Match Racing champion Dave Perry, successfully elevated the Rose Cup to an official US Sailing National Championship.

“We could not be more excited to finally have a true youth match racing national championship in the U.S.,” Perry said in a release. “It will be quite an honor for the team who wins. Match racing is an exciting discipline in our sport, and we want to encourage the 16- to 20-year-old group to get involved and be proficient at match racing, as this is an excellent bridge to higher levels of sailing.”

Coaching and instruction will play a major role in the sailors’ experience this week in Newport Beach. Competing sailors will take part in a North U Advanced Match Racing Clinic led by Perry on Thursday.

Killian won the Rose Cup last year in Oyster Bay, N.Y. The BYC team then went 6-0 to open the Gov Cup, but ended up finishing third and watched Australian team Royal Freshwater Bay go back-to-back.

Killian, of course, wants another chance in the Gov Cup.