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Stage one of Oakcliff Triple Crown delivers opportunities to measure progress

by US Sailing Team 28 Sep 04:49 PDT 25-27 September 2020
2020 Oakcliff Triple Crown © US Sailing

The first stage of the Oakcliff Triple Crown Series has concluded with US Sailing Team athletes Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Huges (Miami, Fla.), and Carmen and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) comfortably taking first and second place, respectively.

The sailors were kept on their toes for the final day of racing thanks to the shifty and puffy conditions on Oyster Bay. McNay said, "We had two to seven knots and a lot of close racing out there. The course was tucked up under the land, so we had a lot of wind shifts. There was also a bit of current out there, so there were a lot of factors to consider, which made for fun racing."

Despite the unstable conditions, the athletes managed to stay in front of the fleet. Carmen and Emma posted two more first-place finishes, while McNay and Hughes rounded out the final two races with a second and third-place finish.

This event was the first racing opportunity for the US Sailing Team athletes, since competing at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami, this past January. Coming into the event, all four athletes and their respective coaches were very much looking forward to using the event as a way to check in on the progress they have been working on in training.

Though the fleet isn't as deep as the competition on the international level, McNay and Hughes' coach, Thomas Barrows (Cambridge, Mass.) is pleased with how the event has gone for the team. "They and the Cowles definitely have the most experience in the fleet, so it can still be a bit of a two-boat battle at times, but its shifty and the current weird enough here that other boats are in the mix," he said. "It's also a good mindset change."

Barrows was particularly interested in McNay and Hughes' mindset this weekend. He continued, "A big thing we have worked on recently is communication and teamwork. It's one thing to do that well in practice, it's another in a racing environment, and that's been going really well. That was a major goal of ours coming in."

The Cowles twins likewise enjoyed using this event as an opportunity to evaluate what they have been working on in training. Carmen is especially glad to see improvements in their ability to anticipate and prepare for different tactical situations as they unfold.

"I think something we're both proud of is being able to recognize situations developing," she said. "There were moments today where we made a mistake and were able to catch some second mistakes before losses got bigger. So we were still in the game."

Emma added, "The first mistake isn't always the one where you lose, it's the second and every one after that."

As the event will be a "Double Crown" this year, one more regatta remains in the series. Next weekend, October 2-4, the athletes will have another opportunity to put their training to the test on Oyster Bay.

US Sailing Team Results:

  • Stu McNay & Dave Hughes - 1st; 10 points
  • Carmen & Emma Cowles - 2nd; 14 points
View full results here.

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