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Austin Sperry (42)

Gulfport, Mississippi, United States

  • Happy New Year!

    January 15, 2010 21:11

    Happy New Year!

    2010 started off in grand style. Andy MacDonald and I won the Bob Levin Regatta this past weekend in Miami. It was the first regatta of the season.
    We had about 20 boats registered for the event, unfortunately for the competitors we were greeted with 28 degree F weather rain/sleet and 25kts of breeze.

    I think that must have been the world record for the coldest temperature Miami has ever encountered. I am still cold and the event ended last weekend!

    This season, I will be sailing with Andy MacDonald. We are putting in a full court press for 2012. This being our first year together we have decided to take things slow and train in the US with the possibility of a few European events. Then when 2011 rolls around the full court press begins. Andy has been sailing full time for as long as I can remember. He is a member of the US Sailing Team Alpha Graphics and finished last year’s ISAF World Cup events in 6thplace with his crew Brian Fatih.

    I am really looking forward to getting back in the boat with Andy. He is a tremendous sailor/athlete and an even better guy. Going forward we are planning on sailing the following events.

    Harry Walker Regatta – January /Miami
    Miami Olympic Classes Regatta – January /Miami
    Bacardi Cup – March/Miami
    Western Hemisphere Championships – Nassau, Bahamas/April

    See you on the water.


  • Finn North Americans 2009

    October 07, 2009 07:35

    Over the past weekend I competed in the Finn National Championships. We had about 35 boats attending this event, including a few sailors from Europe and Zach Railey (my 2008 Olympic teammate who brought home a Silver medal from Beijing). My Father in law John Dane purchased three new Finns (one for me, one for him and one for his son John F) so we have a fully sorted program, really nice boats.
    I rolled up to the Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans) on Thursday evening and shoved off around 1730 for a quick sunset session. I was the only one out on the water but the good news was I was the fastest boat that evening! I started getting a really bad sore throat and decided I had better head to the barn and rest up as we had 8 races scheduled over the next 3 days.

    The next morning brought about 2 knots of wind and 3 races. If I have a weakness as a skipper, it’s the light light air aspect of sailing. Needless to say I struggled in 2 out of the 3 races but I did manage to place 6th in the second race, I attribute this to the breeze reaching about 5-6kts for about 35 minutes. Then it went very light, so I was hiking to leeward in a Finn (just heinous). I had another shocker in the 3rd race of the day.

    That evening aboard Showdown I started to feel even worse than I did during the day, I took more medication than I should of, but managed to feel somewhat better in the morning and sailed in 3 more races on Saturday. I had 3 avg finishes. I learned a great deal about the boat and the correct way to sail it. I seemed to be doing much better downwind than I was going uphill. It was very impressive to watch Zach Railey and Bryan Boyd sail these boats. These guys are on another level. Zach is a great guy, you will see him around for a long time!

    After the second day of racing I felt so bad I decided to see a doctor with all this chatter of H1N1 etc. Well I was told to rest, no more sailing for a few days and he gave me a shot and I was put on a serious antibiotic and then the doctor sent me to the Urgi care emergency room to get tested to make sure I didn’t have the swine flu. Test turned out negative, no flu but still feeling like garbage. Needless to say I missed the last day of the Finn NA’s.

    My main goal coming into this event was finish in the top half of the fleet. I sail the Finn in order to become a better crew on the Star boat and get in better sailing shape. Results aside, I learned a ton about the boat sailing against some of the best Finn sailors in the World. I am looking forward to working on my weaknesses and seeing how I go next time.

    Next up- Champion of Champions regatta crewing for my buddy, Paul Cayard.


  • Star North Americans Wrap-up

    September 27, 2009 13:12

    I just returned from Connecticut after sailing with Jim Buckingham in the Star North American Championships held in Westport. I love Connecticut. I attended prep school (high school) there, so I always enjoy going back.

    First, Jim Buck and I sailed in the warm up regatta (Bedford Pitcher) held at the Cedar Point Yacht Club (CPYC). This was a great event with about 40 boats competing in the weekend regatta. The CPYC team led by Nelson Stephenson did an amazing job, from the evening parties to the on water support – everything was spot on.

    The North American Championship had about 50 boats participating. It was really good to see the diversity within the fleet. It was true Star sailing with weekend sailors out there competing against Volvo Ocean Race winners, Olympians and America’s Cup veterans. Good times!

    Jim and I ended up finishing 7th overall in the North American Championship and winning the masters division (skipper is over 50 years of age).

    Jim and I had a great time, with excellent racing in a wide range of conditions from drifters to surfing down waves on the Long Island Sound. It was exciting stuff!

    Looking ahead, I will be competing in the Finn National Championships next week. The Southern Yacht Club is hosting the event. Southern just finished their new facility (the old club burned down during the flood/hurricane Katrina). The new club is AWESOME. It is massive and has a huge gym – it’s beautiful.

    I am looking forward to testing my fitness and skills out against some of the best Finn sailors in the world.

    From there, I will be joining Paul Cayard in the Champion of Champions Regatta in St. Louis in mid-October.

    Exciting times!


  • Newport Beach - District 5 Championships

    June 24, 2009 19:47

    Last weekend I travelled to Newport Beach, California to sail with my buddy Paul Cayard in the 2009 Star Class District 5 Championships. I flew in Friday afternoon, while Paul completed the Coastal Cup race from San Francisco to Long Beach.

    I set the boat up and managed to get everything ready for his early Saturday arrival. The day started out with no sunshine and rain! Not very Southern Californian, we almost had to make an executive decision and stay in the bar all day due to the lack of sunshine.

    Joking aside, we headed out of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club on a tow that lasted for roughly 10 miles at 1015. We arrived on the race course around 1130 got the sails up, had a look at the rig, checked the numbers and had a look at the race course.
    Situation normal in Newport Beach – light, lumpy looked like it was going to be a massive day of hiking to leeward…

    We completed 4 races and managed to stay near the top of the fleet all day long, by the end of racing on Saturday 3 points separated the top 3 boats. Close action!

    Saturday night NHYC held a great party where Rick Peters organized for a band that he had been raving about for days leading up to the event! They lived up to Rick’s billing, “Human Lab” rocked.

    It was great seeing old friends, man I must be getting old because their kids are growing up fast!

    Sunday was more Southern Californian, sunny and the hint of a day with breeze. The conditions were fantastic, 12 knots a few nice waves to surf downwind and sunshine! Paul and I had a great day winning all three races and only being crossed once the entire day! But… we later learned that the R/C deployed a leeward gate in the 6th race? Go figure in the previous five races there was no leeward gate and in the 6th race of the series they implemented a gate? To make matters worse they set it to the left of the original mark, it would of made some sense to put the new mark to the right (looking downwind) it would have been a bit more clear. And to top things off the mark was attached to a line that was way too long and the mark had drifted downwind about 100 yards… well 90% of the fleet followed us and a few folks went around the “gate”.

    Four days later and I still swear I never saw a leeward gate. I guess I need to wake up a bit because as the crew it’s one of my jobs to locate the marks. I was a bit off the pace with this aspect of my job. Thankfully, Paul had seven of the best starts possible to give us a chance! The good news is even with a DSQ in race 6 we still won the regatta!

    So what’s next? My firm Delta Investment Management is hosting a lunch at the Gulfport Yacht Club Friday, July 10th, so my focus is now on making this the best lunch in the history of Delta!

    Good times


  • Austin's Update from San Francisco

    June 10, 2009 21:05

    There have been some big changes on the professional front for me since I last wrote. I have joined Delta Investment Management (www.deltaim.com), an investment advisory firm out of San Francisco.

    Before my Olympic days, I worked on the trading desk with Delta Investment Management’s founders, Nick Atkeson and Andrew Houghton. Delta runs individually managed accounts for people who would like to invest in stocks. Their track record is incredible. Last year, the strategy was down only 1.79% including fees and has beaten the S&P 500 by more than 600% since 1996.

    As part of my new role with Delta, I have been travelling back and forth to San Francisco quite regularly. So last week, I was with friends celebrating Paul Cayard’s 50th birthday and before that, his daughter Allie’s 19th birthday.

    In between all this celebrating, I have made it out on the water on a few occasions. Recently, I was invited to sail the 51’ Swan Beawolf owned by Swede Hakan Bille in the Corinthian Yacht Club’s Friday night beer can race which was followed by a wonderful dinner at the Club. That was lots of fun. Beautiful boat, with electric winches. We were joking that our fingers were getting cramped pushing the button after the four tacks we made going upwind.

    The crew onboard Beawolf included Paul Cayard, Paul & Val Erickson, Nick Atkeson and Andrew Houghton). Together we managed to even win a trophy! That was the best part of the evening for me (I love winning!). I even got to steer half the race when Cayard turned her over to me after rounding the weather mark. Good times!

    After a long night lurking around in undisclosed locations in Larkspur, I was also invited to crew aboard the TP52 “Flash” which Cayard is running the campaign for two regattas this summer, the Transpac and St.FYC Big Boat Series. What a neat experience, with lots of grinding. I haven’t spent tons of time sailing on big grand prix boats but it has really caught my attention. There is something to be said for ripping around San Francisco Bay in 17kts of breeze, doing 15kts with this massive kite up! We were looking at new sails designed by Quantum that day, by the end of the day my shoulders and arms felt numb!

    The Baxter Bowl in Southern California is the next Star regatta on my agenda. It will be good to get back in the boat with Paul, to see a few old friends as well as to make a few new ones.