Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts and started sailing from an early age during the Summer. McNay excelled at multiple sports and in the classroom, and did not exclusively focus on sailing until he joined the sailing team at Yale University. While at Yale, McNay twice won the Atlantic coast championship and was named an All-American.
His Olympic 470 career began in earnest during his collegiate days, and he successfully qualified for Team USA in 2008 and 2012. McNay will earn the rare distinction of becoming a three-time Olympian when he competes at Rio 2016.
McNay parted ways with Beijing and London teammate Graham Biehl after London, and immediately approached onetime 470 rival David Hughes (Miami, Fla.) about joining forces, a proposal Hughes accepted.
McNay and Hughes saw success almost immediately, finishing 6th overall at the 2013 470 World Championship. From there, their speed and results only improved. They finished 5th at the 2014 Worlds, and earned podium positions at sixteen elite-level regattas. Highlights included gold medals at the 2015 470 Europeans, 2015 Sailing World Cup Weymouth, and a pair of golds at Sailing World Cup Miami (2013, 2016). Both Hughes and McNay were finalists for the 2015 US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award, the nationals highest individual annual honor in sailing.
Hughes and McNay consistently competed at or near the top of the international 470 fleet during the Rio 2016 Olympic quadrennium, and were widely considered to be looking strong heading into Rio 2016.
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.
McNay’s 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.”
“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.”
Pictured: Stu McNay & Dave Hughes. Photo: © Will Ricketson / US Sailing
- US Olympic Team 470 Helm, 2008 Beijing (13th), 2012 London (14th), Rio (4th)
- 470 Europeans Open Champion 2015
- 470 Europeans bronze medalist 2016
- 470 North American Champion ’11, 12, ’15
- Sailing World Cup Miami Champion ’13, ’16, ’17
- Sailing World Cup Weymouth Champion ’15
- Tree Princesa Sofia (Palma) bronze medalist 2016
- U.S. National Champion ’13, ’14 ’15
- Copa Brazil bronze medalist 2015
- Sailing World Cup Final bronze medalist 2014, 2015
- 470 World Championship: 5th (2014), 6th (2013)
- Finalist: US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year – (2016, 2015, 2005)
- Golden Torch Award (Top U.S. Result at Sailing World Cup Miami), 2016, 2017
- Melges 24 World Champion – 2016
Expanded Sailing Resume:
- Collegiate Atlantic Coast Champion ’05
- Collegiate New England Champion ’02
- 2x Collegiate All-American and 1x Honorable Mention All-American
- US Sailing Youth Champion