Governor's Cup: Perfect day for trio

NEWPORT BEACH — For those who live in Newport Beach Wednesday's weather and scenery appeared to make for another day in paradise.

The breezy conditions made it ideal for the sailors in the 47th annual Governor's Cup. You could say it was a perfect day for sailing. It was definitely a perfect day for Balboa Yacht Club, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club of Australia and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, as each went 7-0 during the opening day of the 12-team junior match racing series.

The attention will no doubt be on the three teams Thursday, the second day of round-robin action. They'll compete against one another for the first time and try to gain an advantage as the teams vie for the quarterfinals.

It is natural to assume BYC is at an advantage because it is the host of the event. But BYC skipper Ryan Davidson said any advantage is only good for the first few races. That could be seen Wednesday. Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron both improved with each race.

"Our boat handling really helped us out," said Davidson, who is BYC's skipper in the Gov Cup for the fourth straight year. "Both my crew did a fantastic job getting the sails up and down and getting around the marks."

BYC is trying to end its 33-year drought to win the prestigious Gov Cup. Jack Franco was the last to win it for BYC in 1980.

This year's BYC team of Davidson, along with Brandon Folkman (middle) and Gregg Kent (bow), likes its chances of ending the drought.

The trio sailed in the Gov Cup last year when they finished sixth. They fell short of reaching the semifinals after being edged in a tiebreaker.

Davidson, as well as Folkman, said familiarity within their boat is an asset for sure.

"We've been sailing with each other and against each other since we were kids," Folkman said.

The same can't be said for Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Skipper Chris Steele said Wednesday was just the third time he sailed with Scott Barnes and George Brasell.

They looked just fine earning seven wins on Wednesday.

"It's been a short time period for us," Steele said. "We're still learning, but we all come from a sailing background. They know my style. We are getting better and better with each race. Hopefully we can keep it going."

Sam Gilmour, the skipper for Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, said his team gained confidence by going undefeated on the first day.

Gilmour said it helps that he has sailed with Chris Smith and Adam Negri for over a year. They sailed together in the Gov Cup last year when they finished fifth.

Gilmour said he enjoys competing in the Gov Cup.

"We love coming here especially because it's winter back home," Gilmour said.

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and Chicago Yacht Club both earned four wins.

San Francisco Yacht Club, Portland Yacht Club from Maine and Newport Harbor Yacht Club each recorded three wins.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, skippered by Claudia Pierce, and Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club of Australia both grabbed one win.

San Diego Yacht Club didn't have a win.

Thursday's races begin at noon.

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