McNay and Hughes Earn Men’s 470 US Olympic Team Selection
Published on April 12th, 2016
Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) have earned selection to the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team based on the results of the US Sailing Olympic Athlete Selection Series in the Men’s 470, the two-person dinghy.
The veteran pair have sailed as team since late 2012, although their experience in Olympic-class sailing stretches back much further. In just over three years, McNay and Hughes have compiled an impressive list of podium finishes at many of the world’s toughest dinghy regattas, and are widely seen as medal contenders for Rio 2016. This will be the third career Olympic Games appearance for McNay, and the first for Hughes as an athlete.
McNay has experienced some major milestones in his life since embarking on a campaign for Rio 2016, including becoming both a husband and father. Nevertheless, earning a ticket to the Games never gets old. “Every time is incredibly special,” said McNay, who like Hughes is a two-time US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year finalist. “I always feel honored to be a part of Team USA.”
While McNay and Hughes have been testing themselves against the best in the 470 class for over a decade, only after joining forces have they have achieved their run of career-best results. “One of the main differences this time around is that we’ve medaled at many of the major events [leading up to the Olympics],” said McNay, who has been a member of the US Sailing Team Sperry (national team) for the past three Olympic cycles. “I can confidently say that we are a strong contender for Rio.”
Notable international results for the pair over the past three years have included gold-medal performances at events such as the 2015 470 European Championship (Aarhus, Denmark), the 2015 470 North American Championship, the 2015 Sailing World Cup Weymouth (Weymouth, U.K.) and both the 2013 and 2016 editions of Sailing World Cup Miami (Miami, U.S.A.), North America’s premier Olympic-classes regatta.
To these impressive wins, McNay and Hughes have added a number of podium and near-podium results since starting their push for Rio. They have been coached since 2013 by Barcelona 1992 silver medalist Morgan Reeser (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), who has guided multiple 470 teams to Olympic medals since 2004. The combined level of experience brought to bear by all three individuals is formidable.
A proposed teaming with McNay was an opportunity that Hughes, who served as a Team USA sailing coach in London 2012, jumped at without reservation. “After the last Olympics, Stu and I partnered up, and we knew we had a good team. We had a good vibe together. It’s just been a wonderful journey.”
With both athletes bringing Games experience to the table, their campaign for Rio 2016 has been infused with veteran confidence, prioritization and forethought. “We’ve seen the [show] many times now,” said McNay, who explained that the big stage at the Olympics would not be daunting to either sailor. “We’ll be able to use past experiences to help our performance.”
Both athletes have long been focused on making all possible preparations prior to Rio, and Olympic Team selection does not alter that effort. “There’s no change to the plan, really,” said Hughes of their next steps. “We are still balancing our practice and our racing time, and making sure that the ratio is as tweaked as possible going into the Olympics. We are focusing on training down in Rio. We believe that’s the best way to step forward into the Olympics Games, and be ready for the venue.”
Despite all the work left to be done, Hughes noted that earning a place as an athlete on Team USA for the first time was a profound moment for him. “It’s a lifelong dream to become a U.S. Olympian,” said Hughes. “To be sure, that’s something only a few can really feel.”
Notable Race Results: Stu McNay and David Hughes
Gold – 470 European Open Championship (Aarhus, Denmark), 2015
Gold – 470 North American Championship (Miami, U.S.A.), 2015
Gold – Sailing World Cup Miami (Miami, U.S.A.), 2013
Gold – Sailing World Cup Miami (Miami, U.S.A.), 2015
Gold – Sailing World Cup Weymouth (Weymouth U.K.), 2015
Gold – 470 U.S. National Championship (Miami, U.S.A.), 2013
Gold – 470 U.S. National Championship (Miami, U.S.A.), 2015
Silver – Copa Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 2014
Silver – Trofeo Princesa Sofia (Palma, Spain), 2016
Silver – 470 South American Championship (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 2014
Bronze – Sailing World Cup Final (Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.), 2014
Bronze – Sailing World Cup Final (Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.), 2015
Bronze – 470 European Open Championship (Palma, Spain), 2016
Bronze – Sailing World Cup Miami (Miami, U.S.A.), 2014
Bronze – Copa Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), 2015
5th – 470 World Championship (Santander, Spain), 2014
6th – 470 World Championship (La Rochelle, France), 2013
Finalists: US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year – McNay (2014, 2015) Hughes (2005, 2015)