For the first time in Governor's Cup history, the regatta features two former champions. It just so happens those two former champs are in Saturday's final for the coveted trophy of the 48th annual international junior match racing event.
The Gov Cup final has defending champion Sam Gilmour of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club of Australia against 2011 Gov Cup champion Nevin Snow of San Diego Yacht Club.
Gilmour, Adam Negri (middle) and Storm Brown (bow) finished as the top team in the round-robin quarterfinals. Gilmour earned the right to choose his semifinal opponent. He apparently made a good choice, selecting Chicago Yacht Club (Will Holz).
Gilmour swept the best-of-five series Friday, winning three straight to move on to Saturday's finals, that will also be a best-of-five and will take place in the ocean near Newport Pier.
"All the [semifinal] races were close," said Gilmour, who is trying to become the 10th skipper to repeat in Gov Cup history and first since William Tiller of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (2009, 2010). "Will is a great competitor. Will did a good job of pushing us. A couple of those races he was leading and he just got unlucky."
Snow, who had lost to host Balboa Yacht Club (Christophe Killian) on Tuesday, went 3-1 against Killian to advance to Saturday's final, which is scheduled to start at noon.
Snow, an All-American at Georgetown, along with Hoyas standout AJ Reiter (middle) and Jake Reynolds (bow), an All-American at College of Charleston, put together their most solid victory in this Gov Cup to advance, Snow said.
"We were able to get a great start," Snow said. "We got him clear behind us from the start and we were just a little faster all the upwind and through the leeward. It felt good."
Snow and Gilmour both said they are excited to race in the final. Snow described Gilmour as "hungry" for a rematch.
Snow and Gilmour were recently in the final of the World University Match Racing Championship in Italy, where Snow came out on top. Gilmour won the regatta in 2012.
"We'll be extra hungry to get on top of [Gilmour] because we have another world championship coming up against each other," Snow said of the International Sailing Federation Youth World Championships in Helsinki, Finland that start Wednesday.
"It will be great," Gilmour said of Saturday's finals. "We are really pumped. We feel we are sailing really fast. Nevin is a great sailor. He's always quick and you can never take your eye off him."
Even though the race is taking place in Newport Beach, Gilmour believes he has great support for the Australian team to repeat. Brown is from San Diego Yacht Club, so it's not all about origin.
Regardless, Gilmour says the excitement for the Gov Cup has been great throughtout the week.
"I have to say with all the people watching the races out there it defintely gets you motivated and gets you excited to race," Gilmour said.
There will be plenty of people rooting for Killian and Balboa to finish third for the second straight year. Balboa has not had a Gov Cup champ since 1980, but Killian can still finish strong in the petit final against Holz.
The final day of racing can be followed on Twitter @bycgovcup, and BYC member Andy Rose, a Gov Cup champ in 1969 and 1970, will be calling the action over local sailing radios.