Outdoors

McNay and Hughes outwit tricky Biscayne Bay winds to take lead in Sailing World Cup

Skipper Stu McNay (L) and crew Dave Hughes (R) moved up to first place Friday in the Sailing World Cup Miami men's 470 fleet with four races remaining on Biscayne Bay. Hughes is from Coconut Grove.
Skipper Stu McNay (L) and crew Dave Hughes (R) moved up to first place Friday in the Sailing World Cup Miami men's 470 fleet with four races remaining on Biscayne Bay. Hughes is from Coconut Grove. Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Stu McNay and Dave Hughes maneuvered into first place in the men’s 470 fleet at Sailing World Cup Miami, as they mastered a teasing, fleeting breeze on Hughes’ home course of Biscayne Bay.

Defending champs McNay and Hughes finished fifth in the one race completed in their class on the fourth day of the 10-class regatta, making them the top Americans in the event with two days of racing to go.

The first 470 race was abandoned halfway when the wind died.

“Then a new west-southwest wind filled in, traditionally a very unstable direction here,” McNay said. “We made the most of it.”

They made up time after a mediocre start, then “made huge gains with a port jibe that allowed us to connect with the lead group,” said Hughes, who lives in Coconut Grove. He partnered with McNay for fourth place at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “It’s been a tricky Miami regatta, an odd week.”

Medal races in 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and windsurfer classes start at noon Saturday and in Laser, Laser Radial, men’s and women’s 470 and Finn start at noon Sunday. The Regatta Park Fan Zone features live TV coverage on a spectator-friendly large video screen with expert commentary (and a fleet of food trucks).

American boats are in the top 10 in seven classes. Erika Reineke of Fort Lauderdale is fourth in Laser Radial. Charlie Buckingham of Newport Beach, California, is fourth in Laser. Ian MacDiarmid of Delray Beach and skipper David Liebenberg are 10th in 49er. Pedro Pascual of West Palm Beach is 25th in windsurfer.

Olympic gold medalists Martine Soffiati Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil hold a comfortable lead in 49erFX. British sailors hold first and second places in the co-ed Nacra 17 class. Louis Giard of France has locked up gold in RS:X (windsurfer).

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