by Dana Paxton
Athletes attending the 2012 Olympic Day festivities in Newport, Rhode Island included 2012 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team member Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass), and 2012 U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team members Brad Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.), Jen French (St. Petersburg, Fla.), JP Creignou (Paris, France), Mark LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.), Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Tom Brown (Castine, Maine).
2012 Olympic Day
Thirty 420 sailors from Sail Newport (Newport, R.I.), Ida Lewis Yacht Club (Newport, R.I.), and Conanicut Yacht Club (Jamestown, R.I.) gathered for a question and answer session in which team members explained how they began sailing and offered friendly advice for junior sailors. 'You have to learn how to be a good loser,' Jen French explained, 'You’ll never be a good winner if you don’t know how to be a good loser.'
A 'chalk talk' style discussion led by Stuart McNay followed a spirited question and answer session. Junior sailors were asked what they believed were the elements of a good start, and Olympic and Paralymic team members offered tactical pointers to help improve speed and boat handling.
Following lunch, a 420 race clinic was held with McNay as a guest coach. Focusing specifically on starts and boat handling, junior sailors participated in multiple practice races. McNay offered pointers during the races and advice on what sailors could do to improve during their next race. 'It was great to hear what all the kids thought about it,' McNay said at the conclusion of the day, 'and I hope that some of the things I said they’ll be able to take with them in their racing in the future.'
The 2012 Olympic Games are scheduled for July 27 – August 12 in London, England. The Olympic Sailing Regatta will take place July 29 – August 11 in Weymouth and Portland, England, approximately 120 miles southwest of London.
Team USA Olympic Day website
US Sailing website