LONDON – A strong last day of racing on Tuesday for American sailor Stu McNay ’05 and crew Graham Biehl was not enough for the pair to advance towards competing for an Olympic medal. Sailing in the 470 class off the coast of Dorset in southern England, McNay and Biehl finished five points away from qualifying for Thursday’s gold medal final and took 14th place at the London 2012 Games.
Team MB, as McNay and Biehl call themselves, entered Tuesday’s race ranked 17th in the fleet and were 29 points away from a spot in the medal round. In their best day of racing at the Games, the pair completed the ninth and tenth races of the 10-race series in seventh and fourth out of 27 boats, respectively.
“It’s great to close on a good note,” McNay said in a Tuesday U.S. Olympic Sailing Team press release. “The week didn’t go exactly as we wanted it to. There was a lot of disappointment in there, but I can feel really good about how Graham and I, our abilities as a team, and know that we could have put out a better performance over the course of the week.”
McNay and Biehl came from behind in their ninth race, moving up five spots over the course of four markers and finishing 1 minute 38 seconds behind first-place New Zealand to take seventh.
In their final race, Team MB took advantage of nine- to 12-knot winds. After starting quickly, the pair dropped from third place to seventh before recovering to finish fourth, 1:21 behind the New Zealanders.
Tuesday’s finishes moved Team MB up in the fleet rankings, but could not make up for earlier races where Biehl said the pair “struggled” in the windier conditions. He explained in the press release that, though he and McNay maintained good speed, they had difficulty holding their lane.
With recorded gusts as high as 20 knots on the first day of racing, the pair finished the first two races in 21st place overall. They moved up to 11th after the the second day of racing, but then fell back to 18th after a disappointing third day that saw them record a pair of 23rd-place finishes. The Americans inched up to to 17th after the fourth day of racing before recording two of their top three performances of the week on Tuesday to finish 14th overall.
McNay and Biehl entered the Olympics ranked No. 5 in the world by the International Sailing Federation. They have been sailing together since 2005 and took 13th at the 2008 Games in Beijing.