Barrows '10 and McNay '05 Conclude Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao

Thomas Barrows.
Thomas Barrows.

Aug. 21, 2008

QINGDAO, China - The two Bulldog sailors competing at the 2008 Olympic Games at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center have now concluded competition. Sophomore captain Thomas Barrows placed 21st with 164 points for the US Virgin Islands in the Laser class while Stuart McNay '05 placed 13th with 105 points in the Men's 470 class for the United States.

For McNay, who sailed in the Men's 470 event with crew Graham Biehl, the 13th place-finish at the Olympics was the culmination of years worth of full-time training since graduation from Yale in 2005. While McNay and Biehl did not make the medal race for the top-ten competitors due to a number of tough finishes including a premature starting penalty, the duo did have some superb races during the 10-race regatta. McNay and Biehl won the sixth and eighth races of the regatta, an impressive feat considering that all 29 of the competing teams went through rigorous selection processes at both the national and world levels. McNay and Biehl also placed fourth in the seventh race of the event and sixth in the ninth race for a total of four finishes in the top-ten boats. The two race victories for McNay and Biehl was not surpassed by any team and only equaled by the squads from Japan and Ireland. Australia sailed a dominant event to win the gold with 44 points, followed by Great Britain with 75 points and France with 78 points.

Barrows, the reigning ICSA Singlehanded National Champion in the Laser class, sailed very consistently to place 21st in the fleet of 43 boats, the largest class at the Olympic Games. As the event went on, Barrows continued to improve, achieving top finishes of 15th in the seventh race and 10th in the eighth race. Only nine races were sailed prior to the medal race due to occasional light wind conditions that prevented the full schedule of 10 races from being completed. Unlike most of the field in the Laser class, which consists of professional sailors that train year round in the Laser and are constantly competing in regattas across the world, Barrows is a full-time student that primarily focuses on training for college competition in the collegiate 420 and FJ dinghies. The performance by Barrows is also impressive in light of how he placed in comparison to other top competitors. The representative from the United Sates, 2006 College Sailor of the Year Andrew Campbell, placed 25th while the reigning world champion from Australia placed 22nd. The representative from Great Britain won the gold medal, followed by Slovenia with the silver and Italy with the bronze.

The conditions at the Qingdao venue were more varied than the continuous light air that was expected. While a number of competition days featured light air, medium and strong breezes also made appearances, creating an Olympic event that tested the sailors across the range of wind conditions. Great Britain led the way with six medals at the 2008 Olympic Games sailing competition while the United States tied for third with two medals. A total of 18 nations won medals in the competition.

Barrows will be back in competition for the Bulldogs at the season opening Harry Anderson Intersectional hosted by Yale at the McNay Family Sailing Center on Sept. 13- 14.

Complete Results:

Men's 470 (29 boats) - Stuart McNay '05 and Graham Biehl

Race 1- 26th
Race 2- 12th
Race 3- OCS
Race 4- 17th
Race 5- 15th
Race 6- 1st
Race 7- 4th
Race 8- 1st
Race 9- 6th
Race 10- 23rd

Laser (43 boats) - Thomas Barrows `10

Race 1- 20th
Race 2- 28th
Race 3- 20th
Race 4- 24th
Race 5- 26th
Race 6- 31st
Race 7- 15th
Race 8- 10th
Race 9- 21st

Report filed by Caleb Dorfman, Yale Sports Publicity '09