US 470 Teams and Coaches: Here, There, Then and Now (22 Nov 2010)

470 sailor Stuart McNay and coach Nigel Cochran

Stuart McNay US 470 skipper and coach Nigel Cochran

‘S-McNay – 2010 Perth International Regatta’ Shauna McGee Kinney

Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl (USA 1713), Adam Roberts and Nick Martin (USA 81) and their coaches – Morgan Reeser and Nigel Cochran look at the recent-past and changes in Olympic qualifying and 470 team development.

US 470 sailors Roberts, Martin and Biehl

470 sailors Roberts, Martin and Biehl talking about international competition, training and future events

A-Roberts-N-Martin-G-Biehl – 2010 Perth International Regatta – Shauna McGee Kinney

The Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds will be the first time the Americans qualify for the Olympics in an international regatta rather than the North American qualifiers of years past. The consensus among the four athletes and two was the new international qualifier was more realistic of the level and number of competitors at the Olympics.

Coach Morgan Reeser noted that the old-school Olympic trails were held in North America to be open to everyone and not exclusive, but that no-discrimination, include-all idea wasn’t realistic at this level. Martin and McNay in chorus added, ‘Nobody goes for fun and the top people will still go.’

The sailors admitted that the championship level of sailing they were at meant full-time sailing. They didn’t have time for college, other sports or even girlfriends. The two teams are pretty busy with travel and their next competition Sail Melbourne in December. After that the athletes are looking forward to four to six weeks break around Christmas time.

McNay and Biehl explained how US Sailing has improved the support provided to the youth, world and Olympic sailors in recent years. The national organization helps the top sailors by providing coaching, logistics, media and marketing. Individuals or teams could get advice and assistance with fundraising or sponsorship through US Sailing.

Coach Nigel Cochran nodded in agreement. Coach Morgan Reeser ( US 470 Olympic Silver Medalist 1992 Barcelona ) mentioned that in previous generations, US Sailing simply provided $2500 to the top sailors and it was up to the sailor to utilize the funds.

470 sailing coaches Nigel Cochran and Morgan Reeser

US 470 coaches Nigel Cochran and Morgan Reeser talk to the teams

US470CoachesCenter – 2010 Perth International Regatta – Shauna McGee Kinney

There are changes coming to the 470 class, as the class will soon be a mixed men’s and women’s team, they expect post 2012. The sailors were hoping to wait and see how this change would effect the quality of sailing and number of sailors. In the 470 teamwork is critical compared to single-handed boats like the Finn or Laser.

The team of Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl have been racing together for six years and Roberts and Martin have been racing together for eight years. In fact, Adam Roberts and Nick Martin have been friends since the age of six years old.

McNay, Roberts and Martin all participated in college sailing. Although they did not sail together as a team, these three were top sailors at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association events. Adam Roberts is a four-time All American Skipper from Boston Colleges. Stu McNay is a two-time All-American Skipper from Yale. Nick Martin is an Honorable Mention All-American from the College of Charleston. Also, Morgan Reeser was a four-time All American from the US Merchant Marine Academy and was twice named College Sailor of the Year.

Many sailors from other countries join the military. There was an awkward laugh and a murmur, ‘But the military isn’t popular in the US,’ and ‘the military is hard work.’ The sailors implied that the US military wouldn’t work as a route for sailing like the military works in other countries.

US 470 sailors share their Facebook details

470 sailors use tools like Facebook to stay connected to friends, family and fans

FaceBookGen – 2010 Perth International Regatta – Shauna McGee Kinney

Back when the America’s Cup press mentioned that this the Facebook generation. The teams agreed and shared that they have more friends on Facebook than they do in real life due to all the travel. Nick Martin shared, ‘I see my friends on Facebook a lot more often than in person.’ Biehl commented that the sailing community becomes your extended family and close friends. Here’s were to find the teams:

McNay / Biehl
facebook Team MB

Roberts / Martin
facebook Team Roberts/Martin

In a final comment about technology, the sailors concluded that regatta organizers are not sure how to use technology.

The Volvo Ocean race is pushing the technology, the video and the spectator connectivity to a new limit. Cameras are hard to mount on a small boat like a 470 and the GPS mapping tends to be downloading after the fact and not real-time. In Denmark and the European championships, the race was broadcasted live online. Biehl suggested that even an live, online audio-stream would be a great.

Reprint of the 2010 Perth International Regatta coverage. 470 Teams and Coaches: Here, There, Then and Now. Original article was published 22 Nov 2010. Redistributed with permission from Sail-World / Tetra Media.


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