Friday, January 25, 2008

US boys go it alone

Team USA boasts a proud sailing reputation, think Jonathon McKee or Paul Foerster but could manage to field just one team for this year's 470 Men’s world championships at Mordialloc Sailing Club.

And it is not just us who were surprised by their lack of representation, lone crew Stu McNay and Graham Biehl were a little lost for answers also.

"We're a little shocked as to why there is only one American men's team as well." Biehl, 21 from San Diego, said.

"We had our Olympic trials last October. A lot of teams decided to take some time off afterwards to refocus for after the Olympics and rest up to get things organised for the next go around,” he added.

Their training partners flew home last week following the Asia Pacific Regatta to return to university.

The boys are now out numbered by their female counterparts who boast three crews sailing, - 2008 Beijing hopefuls Amanda Clark/Sarah Mergenthaler, 2008 Asia Pacific Regatta winners Erin Maxwell/Isabelle Kinsolving and Molly Carapiet/Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer.

"We enjoy hanging out with them (the women’s teams)," McNay, a 26-year-old Yale graduate from Boston said. "Their company and knowledge is great."

While they might be going it alone in the men’s event, they still see the championships as a good opportunity for them to fine tune their sailing and settings.

"We're feeling pretty good."

"We are a young team relative to the others. We have only been sailing with each other for two years now. We have lots of work to do in between now and the Olympics but I'm confident well be able to accomplish what we want," McNay said.

"We're really excited and just getting everything sorted and working towards our goal of a medal … we all know it is going to be light and choppy and difficult so we're trying to put our best foot forward and perform well,” Biehl said. By Clare Murray Sail Melbourne Media Centre