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Triple Crown Series at Oakcliff and Seawanhaka - Preview

by US Sailing Team 26 Sep 09:13 PDT
Competing in the 2019 Oakcliff Triple Crown Series in Oyster Bay, New York, in October. © Perfect Vision Sailing

This weekend, US Sailing Team 470 athletes will head to Oakcliff Sailing and Seawanhaka Yacht Club for the first stage of the 2020 Oakcliff Triple Crown Series. It has been nine months since the U.S. 470 sailors have positioned themselves on a starting line, and they look forward to experiencing the complete challenge of a well-fought regatta.

Athletes Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) have been training alongside Carmen Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) in Marion, Mass. After several months on the water without travel or competition, all four athletes are looking forward to measuring their progress on the racecourse.

One element the athletes are looking forward to is the opportunity to get back into the racing mindset. "The mental game of racing is different than when you're practicing," said Emma.

McNay agreed, "This is the first regatta we've done since January and there's no substitute for the mental sharpness that you need going into an event. Our training has been fantastic, but it's also put us in a training mindset, now to shift to regatta and performance mindset will allow us to solidify the technique we've been experimenting with."

Carmen also appreciates that this weekend provides the opportunity to put their recent training to the test, "There's quite a good show of numbers, so that's great to get folks on the line and test our racing skills again. We've been practicing with two boats. With more on the line, it's going to be good getting back in the rhythm of pre-start routines and incorporating what we've been working on the past few months."

This event will be the athletes first racing opportunity since social distancing measures have become the norm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oakcliff has maintained a "bubble" that will allow the sailors and regatta support members to operate relatively normally, thanks to restricting entry to individuals who have tested negative and quarantined properly.

Bubble or otherwise, the US Sailing Team athletes have made the best of the circumstances. "Day-to-day, you put on a mask, and it's not the end of the world to do that. The biggest way the virus has impacted us is in our training. We're not able to meet up with other teams and travel as frequently or freely as we normally would, but our training in the north-east has been really efficient, so we're happy to keep that ball rolling," Emma said.

McNay and Hughes likewise won't be swayed by the safety protocol during racing. McNay attributed this to the level of adaptability that is necessary to succeed on the Olympic campaign trail. "Were always adaptable to what the situation requires, so we're ready to be flexible with respect to the COVID-19 safety requirements."

More than anything, the athletes are excited to get back on the racecourse. Both teams expressed their gratitude to Oakcliff and the Oyster Bay sailing community for the opportunity to race again.

"We're really looking forward to the racing and we want to thank Hunt Lawrence, Oakcliff, Seawanhaka Yacht Club, Yevgeniy Burmatnov, and Oyster Bay," said McNay. "There's a lot of support coming to Olympic sailing from this community and we want to say thank you for that."

To follow their return to racing, stay tuned to the US Sailing Team Instagram for live updates and US Sailing's event coverage page for daily reports.

All results, entries, and more can be found on the event website.

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