Octber 17, 2014
Dave Hughes and I recently finished 5th at the 470 World Championships in Santander, Spain, September 14-20. The week began with light and shifty wind and the race committee squeezed in two races before the big breeze moved in. We saw several days of 15-25 kts from the South (offshore) with heavy chop and some side swell. It was a great event and congrats to the podium finishers Australia, Greece, and Croatia.
(US Sailing team Spery: September 20, 2014)
Santander, Spain – In light and tricky weather and in front of a cheering crowd of thousands, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and David Hughes (San Diego, Calif.) secured the best overall finish by an American men’s 470 team at the World Championship since 2000. McNay and Hughes finished 5th overall at the 2014 ISAF World Championships in Santander, and combined with the 7th overall result from teammates Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) in the women’s 470, Saturday was a standout day in the long and successful history of US 470 Class sailing. In the Finn class, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) qualified for Sunday’s medal race.
McNay and Hughes engineered an impressive beginning to their regatta in Santander, winning the first two races of the 2014 Worlds, and bucking a previous trend for the team. “Traditionally we’ve been slow starters in events, and we made a concerted effort to come out of the blocks hot,” said McNay, a 2-time Olympian. “We accomplished that goal, and it’s a great building block for us for events in the future.” McNay, who finished 13th at Beijing 2008 and 14th at London 2012, seems to be hitting his stride with Hughes as a partner. The veteran dinghy sailors teamed up after the Olympics in 2012. “Our strength as a team is that we are each other’s best coaches, and we enormously enjoy sailing together,” explained McNay. Hughes noted that this event is yet another positive step in their campaign for Rio 2016. “Our goal was the same as everyone’s, in that we wanted to come away with a medal [in Santander], but an improvement on last year’s [6th place] result was another goal. We’re making the right strides in the right amount of time out from the Olympics, so we’re really happy with our preparation.” The 470 World title was won for a 5th time by London 2012 gold medalist Mathew Belcher and crew Will Ryan of Australia. For Ryan, who teamed up with Belcher following the Olympics in 2012, it was his second win at the Worlds. Taking silver was Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic of Croatia, and winning bronze was Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis of Greece.