Price (AUS), Anyon (NZL) and Botticini (ITA) lead Youth Match Racing Worlds
Harry Price (AUS), the #6 ranked open match racing skipper in the world, had a "typical day at the office" in finishing 5-0 on the opening day of the Youth Match Racing World Championship hosted by Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California. Most observers expected Price to dominate the series despite his fourth-place finish in the 51st Governor's Cup, Balboa Yacht Club's Invitational Youth Match Racing Championship held two weeks ago.
When asked if he considered himself the favorite during the introduction of teams at Monday evening's Opening Ceremony, Price said, "Not sure about that, but it doesn't hurt that the three people that beat us in the GovCup aren't here."
He has had a crew change from his GovCup team, with Tara Blanc-Ramos joining the team on the bow, undoubtedly a good development since Blanc-Ramos sailed with Price in their 2015 Governor's Cup win.
Another veteran of this year's Governor's Cup, New Zealand's George Anyon, matched Price's 5-0 record today in dispatching much of the European sailors in winning races against the teams from Sweden, Great Britain, France and Switzerland. Anyon has yet to sail against Italy's Ettore Botticini, who also ended the day with 5 wins.
World Sailing, the governing body of the sport, limits teams in the World Championship to no more than two from any country. While Botticini has already established a winning sailing record, he has not participated in the many youth match racing regattas held annually in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Botticini had also never sailed in California before, but experience didn't seem to be a problem today.
He is sailing with a crew of four, including his younger sister. After the race, Botticini said, "We were pleased to do so well in the light conditions with four people when most of the crews sailed with three." The Governor's Cup 22 sloops provided to the competitors by BYC were designed to be sailed with either three or four crew, subject only to a crew weight limit of 579 pounds or 263 kilos.
The two teams from the United States, skippered by Newport Beach native Charlie Welsh and Floridian Greiner Hobbs, as well as Great Britain's Matt Whitfield, were close behind tied on three wins. Denmark's Felix Jacobsen and Australia's all-female team led by Clare Costanzo are tied on two wins.
Conditions in the Pacific Ocean off Newport Beach were challenging with wind speeds ranging from 4 to 10 knots, but the large sail area and masthead spinnakers on the GovCup 22s allowed racing to continue for most of the day after a mid-day postponement of 45 minutes due to light wind.
It is always good to start a match race series undefeated, but the Championship format includes a "double round robin" which pits each team sailing a match against every other team twice, with the winner of each match earning one point and the loser zero. The skippers finishing in the top four of the round robin series will sail in a knock out semi-final series on Friday, first to win three races. In turn the semi-final winners will sail for the World Championship in the finals on Saturday 5 August.