Rio 2016 (Sailing): McNay and Hughes Finish Strong, Heartbreak for Haeger and Provancha

WATCH: The Rio Report / N.12 – Veterans and Newcomers Reflect – Team USA veterans Stu McNay and Dave Hughes finish strong in Rio with one of the best performances of their career while Olympic newcomers Paris Henken and Helena Scutt review the experience of their first Games.

August 18, 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The final races of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games sailing competition were held on Thursday in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain as a crowd of thousands cheered from Flamengo Beach. With a fresh breeze, close racing, and live television coverage, the world saw the sport of sailing at its most dramatic. The Women’s and Men’s 470 classes were the first to hold their medal races after an absence of wind on Wednesday forced their postponement, and the event was capped by races in the Men’s 49er and Women’s 49erFX skiff classes.

It was a day of mixed results for Team USA. The American Men’s 470 team, mathematically unable to reach the podium in the medal race, finished a strong 2nd in the double-points race and defended their position in 4th place overall. The U.S. 49erFX team ended their regatta in 10th after a career-best performance. Team USA’s Women’s 470 team were in podium position as late as halfway through their closely-contested medal race, but in a heartbreaking ending finished 10th in the race and 7th overall.

2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro

Pictured: McNay and Hughes en route to a 2nd place finish in the Men’s 470 Medal Race.

“We are very proud of the effort this team submitted in Rio,” said Josh Adams, the Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing, who became leader of the team after London 2012. “We came ready to compete against the world’s best and showed Team USA’s ability to contend. Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) set the pace with his bronze medal, an outstanding performance. We are equally proud of the American sailors in six classes who raced in their medal races, reserved for the top-ten overall, and the positive way in which all fifteen athletes represented their country in Olympic competition.”

470 helm Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) competed in his third consecutive Olympic Games in 2016, but his campaign for Rio 2016 stands apart from the earlier stages of his career. After teaming up with Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) following London 2012, the pair found considerable and sustained success in the men’s two-person dinghy. While coming up just shy of the podium in 4th overall, the lifelong New Englander said he was proud of their performance. “We were able to find something very special together as teammates,” said McNay, who along with Hughes was a finalist for US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year honors in 2015. Coached by U.S. Olympic medalist Morgan Reeser (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), McNay and Hughes have earned medals at sixteen major events over the past four years. McNay said they were determined to arrive in Rio with both the speed and skills to challenge for gold. “We were fighting for the top spot on the podium at this event, which is all you can ask for as a competitor.”

470M USA Stu McNay USASM24 Dave Hughes USADH5 2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro

Pictured: Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.), Team USA Men’s 470.

“One of the best things about the Games is that it’s a moment in time where you’re required to put your best foot forward,” said a reflective McNay. “It’s an interesting opportunity to say, ‘I’m going to be at my very best, here and now.’ You do what you can in the moment. I would have liked the both of us to do a little bit better, because I know that is well within our abilities.”

Hughes said that as a veteran team, they focused extensively on mental preparation prior to the event.”We didn’t take in too much pressure,” said Hughes. “We were most interested in generating a peak performance, which is something that comes from within. I tried to get the best out of myself, and be the best teammate I could be for Stu,” said Hughes. “Those are the things that matter in the end.”

2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro

Pictured: Team USA’s Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.), Women’s 470.

Annie Haeger (East Troy, Wisc.) and Briana Provancha (San Diego, Calif.) had a chance to join Paine as medalists heading into the Women’s 470 medal race, but faced a tough fight for silver and bronze. London 2012 silver medalists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Great Britain locked up gold earlier in the event. The first-time Olympians, who won the Rio Olympic Test Event in 2015 with a memorable medal race performance, started the final race strong, and led around the first two marks. “We had a really good first beat, and then the racing got tricky, the fleet condensed, and it got pretty close,” recounted Provancha on the beach afterward.

The American women were unable to stay out in front on the tactically unpredictable “Pao” medal race course, surrounded on almost all sides by the dramatic mountain peaks of Rio. “The wind was up and down coming off Sugarloaf [Mountain], and the fleet split on the second upwind leg,” said Provancha, a youth sailing world champion. “We had to pick a side, and we went left. Unfortunately when the fleet converged again it was all one tight-knit group. On the last run, we sailed out of the pressure, fouled a boat, and had to spin.” Haeger and Provancha executed their penalty turns, and dropped to 10th place at the finish.

2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro

Pictured: Haeger and Provancha (right) competing in the Rio 2016 medal race. 

“It’s hard for this to happen at the Olympics,” said Provancha to NBC News onshore. “We’ve had an awesome four years, and I’m so proud of what we’ve done. The girls that medaled deserve it, and at the Games there is a lot to play for. Obviously we’re disappointed that we didn’t perform today, but we really gave this regatta our all. [The ending] doesn’t take away from how awesome the whole team has been, and our coach Dave Ullman (Newport Beach, Calif.). We fought hard, and it’s just not our time right now.”

Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) competed in the second medal race of their careers on Thursday, and on one of the biggest stages the sport can offer. The youngest team in the fleet, Henken and Scutt said a top-10 performance was their goal headed into the event. “We’re really happy with our performance, and we were proud to be a part of the medal race on behalf of Team USA,” said Scutt. Rio 2016 also marked the entrance of the all-female and high-octane 49erFX into Olympic competition, and Scutt said it was an important development for the sport overall. “I think it was about time that women had a skiff in the Games, and I think the performances this week, with the competitive fleet we had, showed that we all belong here. This will be an exciting class for many years to come.”

SEE ALSO: Caleb Paine (USA) Wins Finn Bronze at Rio 2016

2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro

Pictured: Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, Wash.) combating at the 49erFX medal race at Rio 2016.

U.S. Sailing Team Results: Day 11

Thursday, August 18

Men’s Finn: (Final, Top 10)

  1. GBR – SCOTT Giles: 36
  2. SLO – ZBOGAR Vasilij: 68
  3. USA – PAINE Caleb: 76
  4. BRA – ZARIF Jorge: 87
  6. SWE – SALMINEN Max: 90
  7. NZL – JUNIOR Josh: 92
  8. AUS – LILLEY Jake: 97
  9. ARG – OLEZZA BAZAN Facundo: 101
  10. NED – POSTMA Pieter-Jan: 105

Men’s 470: (Final, Top 10)

  1. CRO – FANTELA Sime / MARENIC Igor: 43
  2. AUS – BELCHER Mathew / RYAN Will: 58
  3. GRE – MANTIS Panagiotis / KAGIALIS Pavlos: 58
  4. USA – MCNAY Stuart / HUGHES Dave: 71
  5. GBR – PATIENCE Luke / GRUBE Chris: 75
  6. SWE – DAHLBERG Anton / BERGSTROM Fredrik: 79
  7. FRA – BOUVET Sofian / MION Jeremie: 87
  8. AUT – SCHMID Matthias / REICHSTAEDTER Florian: 87
  9. SUI – BRAUCHLI Yannick / HAUSSER Romuald: 94
  10. NZL – SNOW-HANSEN Paul / WILLCOX Daniel: 104

Women’s 470: (Final, Top 10)

  1. GBR – MILLS Hannah / CLARK Saskia: 44
  2. NZL – ALEH Jo / POWRIE Polly: 54
  3. FRA – LECOINTRE Camille / DEFRANCE Helene: 62
  4. NED – ZEGERS Afrodite / VAN VEEN Anneloes: 63
  6. SLO – MRAK Tina / MACAROL Veronika: 67
  7. USA – HAEGER Annie / PROVANCHA Briana: 69
  8. BRA – OLIVEIRA Fernanda / BARBACHAN Ana Luiza: 76
  9. AUT – VADLAU Lara / OGAR Jolanta: 92
  10. POL – SKRZYPULEC Agnieszka / MROZEK-GLISZCZYNSKA Irmina: 106

Mixed Nacra 17: (Final, Top 10)

  1. ARG LANGE Santiago / CARRANZA SAROLI Cecilia: 77
  2. AUS – WATERHOUSE Jason / DARMANIN Lisa: 78
  3. AUT – ZAJAC Thomas / FRANK Tanja: 78
  4. NZL – JONES Gemma / SAUNDERS Jason: 81
  5. ITA – BISSARO Vittorio / SICOURI Silvia: 84
  6. FRA – BESSON Billy / RIOU Marie: 93
  7. SUI – BUHLER Matias / BRUGGER Nathalie: 100
  8. USA – GULARI Bora / CHAFEE Louisa: 106
  9. GBR – SAXTON Ben / GROVES Nicola: 109
  10. BRA – ALBRECHT Samuel / SWAN Isabel: 117

Women’s 49erFX: (Final, Top 10)

  1. BRA – GRAEL Martine / KUNZE Kahena: 48
  2. NZL – MALONEY Alex / MEECH Molly: 51
  3. DEN  -HANSEN Jena / SALSKOV-IVERSEN Katja Steen: 54
  5. ITA – CONTI Giulia / CLAPCICH Francesca: 82
  6. FRA – STEYAERT Sarah / COMPAN Aude: 85
  7. NED – BEKKERING Annemiek / DUETZ Annette: 97
  8. GBR – DOBSON Charlotte / AINSWORTH Sophie: 101
  9. GER – JURCZOK Victoria / LORENZ Anika: 110
  10. USA – HENKEN Paris / SCUTT Helena: 112

Women’s Laser Radial: (Final, Top 10)

  1. NED – BOUWMEESTER Marit: 61
  2. IRL -MURPHY Annalise: 67
  3. DEN – RINDOM Anne-Marie: 71
  4. BEL – VAN ACKER Evi: 78
  5. FIN – TENKANEN Tuula : 86.6
  6. SWE – OLSSON Josefin: 90
  7. LTU – SCHEIDT Gintare: 90
  8. GBR – YOUNG Alison: 93
  9. AUS – STODDART Ashley: 107
  10. USA – RAILEY Paige: 131

Men’s Laser: (Final)

11. USA – BUCKINGHAM Charlie: 108 points

Women’s RS:X: (Final)

16. USA – LEPERT Marion: 156.9 points

Men’s 49er: (Final)

19. USA – BARROWS Thomas / MORRIS Joe: 155

Men’s RS:X: (Final)

28. USA – PASCUAL Pedro: 286 points

Note: Full results can be found at the Rio 2016 homepage. 

Viewing Guide

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games featured unprecedented coverage of sailing for fans in the United States. Between NBC’s world-class television and online programming, US Sailing’s multi-channel coverage, and comprehensive daily email reports sent directly to fans, anyone hoping to follow the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team will had a better view than during any previous Olympics.

For more details on how to re-live the action, check out the US Sailing Team’s viewing guide.

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About The U.S. Olympic Sailing Team

The Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team is comprised of fifteen sailors hailing from eight U.S. States and territories including California, Washington, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island, Florida, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each athlete qualified for the team based on the results of US Sailing’s Rio 2016 Athlete Selection Series. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad will take place from August 5-21, 2016, and the sailing events will be based at Marina da Gloria on Rio de Janeiro’s harbor front. The largest sporting event in the world, the Olympic Games will feature approximately 10,500 athletes from over 200 countries competing in 306 medal events. The sailing events will feature approximately 380 athletes competing in ten classes. Learn more about the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program at www.ussailing.org/olympics