Dialing the Racing Mindset at Oakcliff Triple Crown

On Sunday, October 4, the second and final stage of this year’s Oakcliff Triple Crown Series wrapped, marking the end of this summer’s racing opportunities for the US Sailing Team 470 athletes.

Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) finished first in the 10 boat fleet, followed closely behind by Carmen Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.). In the past two weeks, both boats have enjoyed the opportunity to race in an official regatta. This weekend, the Cowles twins especially enjoyed immersing themselves in the racing mindset one again, particularly in the face of multiple postponements.

“Something that was big for us was this weekend was our mindset,” said Emma. “We had some postponements and something that’s so different while racing is the mentality with how you approach a day whether you’re postponed or not. In practice, very rarely are you postponing for an hour and shifting that mindset to racing again by getting back in the routine of checking the settings and boat speed before the start. You’re still in the zone when you’re in practice but the mindset you need for racing isn’t something you can simulate without a regatta.”

Apart from focusing on getting back into the zone during the pre-start, Carmen also appreciated the challenge of training with higher stakes, “When you’re going out training, it’s not like mistakes are costly. When you train and make a mistake, you move on and learn. While you want to move on and learn quickly while racing, there are always consequences that don’t exist in most training situations.”

Next, the Cowles twins will enjoy a little bit of time off at home in Larchmont, N.Y., before heading back up to Massachusetts to wrap up their season in the northeast before heading down to Miami for the winter. The Cowles are especially looking forward to the warmer weather training in Miami as they’ll be able to reunite with several of their fellow US Sailing Team athletes, albeit from a safe distance.

“It seems like quite a bit of the team will be down there this winter, which is pretty cool,” said Carmen. “Very rarely are we all in the same spot training.”

Visit the event website to view the full results.

Updated: 10/4/20

McNay & Hughes Target Goals that Can Only Be Evaluated On the Racecourse

Today, the US 470 Sailing Team will head to Oakcliff Sailing and Seawanhaka Yacht Club for the second stage of the 2020 Oakcliff Triple Crown Series. The U.S. athletes, Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.), Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.), Carmen Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.), and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.), are looking forward to having another opportunity to race before another long training block that will precede their next regatta in Miami, this winter.

McNay and Hughes’ coach, Thomas Barrows (Cambridge, Mass.) is grateful to have another opportunity to log some hours on the racecourse and work on skills that can only be honed in the regatta environment. “It’s great to have one more formal regatta,” he said.

“Dave and Stu will certainly be focusing on racing well first and foremost, but there are a lot of specific goals that only a formal regatta provides a good setting for them to work on. Specifically, they’ll continue to refine their race day routines, communication around the racecourse, and decision making under pressure.”

Last week, the sailors raced for the first time in nine months at the first stage of the Oakcliff Triple Crown. Getting back on a full starting line also revealed some other areas that the team will be working on this weekend.

Barrows continued, “A challenge in some races last weekend was balancing starting well but not risking an OCS. Other teams were pushing the line and there were OCS in most races, so there was a hard risk-reward evaluation on some starts. As always, there’s also a lot to be gained with observing boat performance in a racing environment. It’s one thing to know how the boat performs in good lanes, but regattas put the sailors in wind shadows and motorboat wakes that aren’t typical in practices.”

The sailors will race through Sunday, October 4th. Visit the event website to follow the US Sailing Team’s results as they compete at the second and final stage of this year’s Series.

US Sailing Team Athletes at the Oakcliff Triple Crown Stage Two

  • Stu McNay & Dave Hughes – Men’s 470
  • Carmen & Emma Cowles – Women’s 470