February 1, 2014

Yale Sailors Race in World Cup, McNay Finishes Third

MIAMI, Fla. – Claire Dennis '13, Sarah Lihan '10 and Stuart McNay '05 all competed in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta which took place in Miami over the course of the past six days.  They were three out of 580 athletes from 50 different countries and the regatta was the third of five in the ISAF World Cup series.

McNay, who has represented the US in the Men's 470 class at the past two Olympic Games, finished third overall in a competitive, 29-boat fleet.  He and his crew, Dave Hughes, sailed extremely consistently until the final day.  They managed to finish in the top five in all six regular series races, putting themselves in the lead going into today's medal race. 

Unfortunately, after a good start today, McNay and Hughes fell back and finished ninth, adding 18 points to their score because the medal race counts double.  They were stripped of the gold medal by the French and lost a tie-breaker for silver with the reigning 470 World and Olympic Champions from Australia.  However, their bronze was one of just three medals for USA.   

Dennis has been training in the laser radial ever since graduating from Yale last spring.  She struggled a little in the light winds which plagued this year's Miami World Cup, but finished on a strong note when the wind came up late on Friday.

Finally, this was Lihan's first major regatta since switching from dinghies to catamarans.  She finished ninth in the women's 470 fleet at the 2012 Olympic Games, but decided to start sailing Nacra 17 catamarans once they were announced as a new Olympic class for 2016.  The Nacras are designed by some of the same boat builders who developed the America's Cup catamarans.  They are also interesting in that they are required to be sailed as a "mixed" crew, meaning one male and one female.  Lihan and her skipper, Taylor Reiss, managed to score two top-ten finishes and were the third US Nacra team in Miami.

The next ISAF World Cup regatta starts at the end of March and will take place in Mallorca, Spain.  After that, sailors will travel to Hyeres, France, to finish up the series at the end of April.  News, results and more can be followed online using this link.  The road to the 2016 Olympic Games should be an exciting one for these Yale alumni.

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity