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US Sailing Team underperforms at the 470 World Championships

by US Sailing Team 9 Aug 12:11 PDT 2-9 August 2019
U.S. Men's 470 athletes, Stu McNay and Dave Hughes © Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan

On Friday, August 9, 2019, the 2019 470 World Championships concluded with the final Medal Races for the Men's and Women's 470 classes. For the US Sailing Team, racing concluded on Thursday, August 8, with no representatives qualified for the Medal Races.

In the Men's fleet, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) finished in eighteenth overall as the highest placed U.S. boat. The top-three U.S. representatives in the Women's fleet, Atlantic Brugman (Winthrop, Mass) and Nora Brugman (Winthrop, Mass.), Nikole Barnes (Miami, Fla.) and Lara Dallman Weiss (Shoreview, Minn.), and Carmen Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.), finished in 30th, 31st, and 32nd, respectively.

One of the major goals for the U.S. athletes in the Women's fleet was to qualify the country for representation at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Because there are far more countries that compete in Olympic class boats than are spots available at the games, the country must qualify for a berth before athletes can be selected to the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team. At this event, the top six countries competing in the Women's fleet that did not already qualify at the 2018 World Championships earned a berth to the 2020 Games. Before the event began, the U.S. hoped to be among the sailors qualifying their countries. The sixth and final spot at this event was given to the Germans who finished 16th overall, 14 places ahead of the highest placing U.S. boat.

Overall, the finishing positions of the United States fell short of the goals of US Sailing Team leadership. "I'm disappointed that we fell short of our hopes and expectations for both fleets," said Malcolm Page, US Sailing's Chief of Olympics. "We will now be forced to qualify the country in the Women's fleet at the Hempel World Cup Series in Miami this January."

McNay and Hughes' performance in the Men's fleet also comes as somewhat of a surprise to the US Sailing Team and fans. The pair finished fifth at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, and at the 2018 World Championships in Aarhus, they qualified the country for representation in Tokyo by finishing seventh overall.

"Stu and Dave did not achieve the result they were looking for at the Worlds," said their coach, Thomas Barrows (Miami, Fla.). Barrows mentioned that their finishing position of 18th overall was primarily caused by tactical errors and an unfortunate breakdown on the final day of racing. "Luckily, they have two more events here in Enoshima to achieve a desirable result," Barrows continued. "They are looking forward to the Test Event, which will simulate a more similar environment to the Olympic Regatta than a typical 470 event."

The Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic Test Event and Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima will be held, back to back, at the Tokyo 2020 venue, beginning next week. The U.S. competitors in the 470 fleets will take advantage of the events to become more comfortable with the challenging conditions Enoshima delivers.

U.S. Results at the 2019 470 World Championship:

Men
Stu McNay and Dave Hughes - 18th
Trevor Davis and Trevor Bornarth - 51st

Women
Atlantic and Nora Brugman - 30th
Nikole Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss - 31st
Carmen and Emma Cowles - 32nd
Emily Bornarth and Laura Slovensky - 38th

View full results

For more information visit event website.

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