News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : Sailing Under the American Flag

Sailing Under the American Flag

'The USA flag flying at the Olympics 2008'    © Richard Gladwell    Click Here to view large photo

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.'

Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. 49er. Star spangled banner. -  Guy Nowell ©?nid=47591   Click Here to view large photo

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:

by Derby Anderson


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

4:16 AM Tue 12 Aug 2008 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2008 Olympics Qingdao

Related News Stories:

22 Aug 2010  Qingdao might spell the Future of Sailing
27 Nov 2008  Inspirational Meeting of the Medallists at RQYS
15 Nov 2008  Elliott 6 metre selected for 2012 Olympics
13 Nov 2008  ISAF Specialist Committees agree Olympic Equipment
12 Nov 2008  Ainslie and Sensini win ISAF Rolex Sailor Awards
05 Nov 2008  Boost for RS:X sailing down under
03 Nov 2008  Not time to change Olympic windsurfer says Pryde
21 Oct 2008  Tornado moots one design for 11th Olympic medal
06 Oct 2008  ISAF Working Party support NZ design for Olympics
26 Sep 2008  Day 1 of Nations Cup Qualifier - AUS and NZL

News - USA and the World

International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video by Mark Jardine /,

Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature by Richard Gladwell/,

Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games by Anna Tunnicliffe, Pittsburgh, PA

Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica pushing towards Southampton
NYYC Race Week - Saving the best for last
VX One North American Championship - Chris Alexander commands
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Waiting game on Day 3
International Moth Worlds: Thunderstorms delay racing on Day 1
Fuerteventura World Cup - Impressive tricks on day 1
2014 Governor's Cup - Two former winners in the finals
America's Cup: Iain Murray explains reasons for Australian withdrawal *Feature
Wilson and Roble remain number one match racers in U.S.
2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Set to start
PWA Pozo World Cup - Moreno twins dominate home spot
ISAF Youth Worlds - Record breaking regatta in Tavira + Video
Melges 32 European Championship - Robertissima remains out front
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Italians take one-point lead
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi
New York Yacht Club Race Week - Marstrom 32 fleet off to anxious start
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Max Ranchi
CYC Race to Mackinac - Cruising fleet sets sail in 106th edition
Team Alvimedica getting a touchup
PWA Pozo World Cup - Plenty of drama on day 5   
ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship - Day 5 Videos   
NYYC Race Week - High performance classes put on shoreside show   
2014 Pacific Cup - 'Invisible Hand' the first boat to finish   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - B.C.'s Eric Holden skippers wins   
America's Cup: Updates on Team Australia withdraw   
J/70 North American titles - Brian Keane moves to top of leaderboard   
2016-2017 America's Cup - Team Australia withdraws   
VX One North American Championship - Chris Alexander takes charge   
America's Cup: Team NZ disappointed, but on track after Australians go   
America's Cup: Hamilton Island decides not to proceed with Challenge.   
America's Cup: Challenger of Record withdraws from Regatta   
WWA Wakeboard National Championships head to Waco   
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Day 2   
RP52 Scarlet Runner sails in San Francisco   
2014 Governor's Cup - Nevin Snow and team on form   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Americans claim silver medals in Tavira   
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Day 1   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 2 images by Carlo Borlenghi   
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding World Cup to take place on Fuerteventura   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT