Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

Sailing Under the American Flag

by Derby Anderson on 12 Aug 2008
The USA flag flying at the Olympics 2008 © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

The eighteen sailors of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team have spent their lives as numbers sailing in a sea of more numbers. In their racing events they are spotted by the identifying digits on their sail. For example, the USA Yngling is '337.' But at the Olympics, they drop their numbers and gain new identities. They become 'the Americans' sailing in a cosmopolitan sea of flags.

Men’s 470 skipper Stu McNay explains, 'In past Olympics I’ve always seen the flags and that’s one of the coolest parts: To spectate and find your country.' Now it’s his turn. 'I want to be a part of that, where people can identify me as that American boat.'

Laser Radial medal favorite Anna Tunnicliffe says her favorite part of the United States branding on her boat is the 'USA' country code on her bow. 'Every time I tack, I see it and remember I’m sailing for my country.'

USA Laser sailor Andrew Campbell has sailed in ‘flagged’ events in the past, but not the Olympics. 'Without a doubt having nothing but the stars or stripes above your head is the greatest honor bestowed upon any American athlete and certainly any American sailor. I have had the honor of sailing two Youth World Championships, the World University Games and the Pan American Games all with the USA logo as the only distinctive mark on the mainsail.' That honor comes with expectations, though. Campbell explains he also feels a duty to perform under the flag. 'Knowing that every American sailor would switch places with you is a lot of pressure and at the same time an inspiration to perform at your best.'

For classes like the 470 and Yngling, the material ordered for all the sail stickers came with the wrong material and adhesive, so it didn’t stick to the Dacron sail material. McNay and crew Graham Biehl hope to get the new material delivered and have flag pasted to their main before the regatta ends. Biehl exclaims, 'That’s why I came here!'

Fortunately, Biehl still gets to trim a starred and striped spinnaker. But even that’s not all glory and fame because it presents a whole new challenge. He says, 'When I first sailed with the flag spinnaker it was harder to read.' Looking for subtle changes on a patterned surface is different than reading those nuances on a solid material. By now he’s fine, 'I’ve been working with it for about one and a half months now so I’m fully adjusted.'


The 49er has an even tougher challenge with the branded spinnaker: Their class rules say they must have the design sewn on instead of inked like the others. With the most complicated flag design, this might put USA at a slight disadvantage with all the seams. Both Tim Wadlow and Chris Rast have been to the Olympics before in the 49er, so it’s not new to them to bear the flag. Rast, however, has sailed for Switzerland in his past two Olympics, so representing USA is a new privilege for him.

To watch the USA sailors and their flags online, NBC is offering online coverage here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/sailing/index.html

http://olympics.ussailing.org

Colligo Marine 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

Qingdao might spell the Future of Sailing
’The explosion of sailing in Asia is both a joyous and a sad time for this European dominated sport.’ As Kjell Borking, the Vice President of EUROSAF, the peak European sailing body commented today at the 2010 International Sailing Forum in Qingdao ‘’The explosion of sailing in Asia is both a joyous and a sad time for this European dominated sport.’
Posted on 22 Aug 2010
Elliott 6 metre selected for 2012 Olympics
The ISAF Council followed its usual conservative approach today when it opted for the same classes The ISAF Council followed a conservative approach today when it opted for the same classes to contest the same events in the 2012 Olympic as they had done in the 2008 Olympics. The only addition is the introduction of the Elliott 6 metre in the Womens Match Racing event, which will make its debut at the 2012 Olympics.
Posted on 15 Nov 2008
Ainslie and Sensini win ISAF Rolex Sailor Awards
Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Alessandra Sensini (ITA) winners of the ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Alessandra Sensini (ITA) have just been announced as the winners of the ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards at a dinner in Madrid, Spain
Posted on 12 Nov 2008
Not time to change Olympic windsurfer says Pryde
A proposal to switch windsurfing boards for 2012 Games from existing Neil Pryde RS:X to a new Formula board. At this weeks ISAF meeting amongst the agenda items is a proposal to switch windsurfing boards for the 2012 London Olympic Games from the existing Neil Pryde RS:X to a new Starboard built Formula board.
Posted on 3 Nov 2008
Tornado moots one design for 11th Olympic medal
discussions were underway within the IOC with regards to a submission submitted by Paul Henderson The structure of the Tornado class has gone through many changes over the past 11 months. The Tornado Class/Multihull community became to complacent believing that multihull was safe and would always be part of the Olympic program, this lead to a major shock to us all at the 2007 Annual ISAF meeting in November.
Posted on 21 Oct 2008
ISAF Working Party support NZ design for Olympics
ISAF working party supports Elliott 6m be chosen as the equipment for the 2012 Olympics in the new Womens Match Racing A Working Party from the International Sailing Federation has made a submission to the International Sailing Federation supporting the previous submission from Yachting New Zealand that the Elliott 6m be chosen as the equipment for the 2012 Olympics in the new Womens Match Racing Event.
Posted on 6 Oct 2008
Slingsby stumbled in Qingdao. What Happened?
Tom Slingsby was a gold medal favourite going into the Olympic regatta. Tom talks about what happened and the future. Australia's Laser sailor Tom Slingsby was the gold medal favourite going into the Olympic regatta. But he had a shocker, finishing 22nd overall. Now Tom talks about what happened and the road ahead.
Posted on 25 Sep 2008
Balboa Yacht Club welcomes Paralympic sailing hero
United Airlines delivered precious cargo to Orange County's John Wayne Airport this afternoon. United Airlines delivered precious cargo to Orange County's John Wayne Airport this afternoon. Over 100 Balboa Yacht Club members, friends and family welcomed home Paralympic Gold Medallist, Nick Scandone; his wife, Mary Kate; his loyal friend and coach, Mike Pinckney and his devoted brother, Vince (Rock).
Posted on 19 Sep 2008
If Everyone could have seen them dance .....
If everyone could have seen them dance like no one was watching Spending the last two weeks with the sailors, coaches, assistants, friends, families, care givers and International Association of Disabled Sailors (IFDS) officials during the 2008 Paralympics Sailing Regatta in Qingdao, China was the most rewarding experience of my career as a sailing journalist. These people are amazing!
Posted on 17 Sep 2008
An exciting finale to the 2008 Paralympic Sailing
An exciting finale to the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao An exciting finale to the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao ended with gold medals going to Canada's Paul Tingley in the 2.4 Metre, US pair Nick Scandone and Maureen Mckinnon-Tucker in the SKUD18 and German trio Jens Kroker, Robert Prem and Siegmund Mainka in the Sonar.
Posted on 15 Sep 2008