The Crew’s View – Austin Sperry

It’s been almost seven months since I was in a Star boat. Given the last 3+ years of full time campaigning I was really crispy, tired and burned out….and wondered if I would ever hop back in the boat.

Then I got the call. “Hoss, it’s Boss. We’re going sailing,” said Paul (Cayard).

My first thought was “Gee, I hope I am out of this cast (post knee surgery) in time to make the Bacardi Cup!” To make a long story longer, I rehabbed my knee five days a week. Once I was cleared to sail by Dr. James Andrews, I made the call to Paul telling him that ‘the Eagle was ready for take off!’. Truthfully, I thought I was cleared too early by the doctor, but last time I checked I didn’t have an MD at the end of my name.

My Dad and Paul drove together from San Francisco (man they have some good stories!!) towing Paul’s Star. They stopped in Mississippi for three days where they tried out far too many waffle houses and we did some training out of the Pass Christian Yacht Club. Then the three of us road tripped together for the last 800 miles to Miami.

At one point my old man was driving and forgot to pull into the toll booth lane (apparently he thought we had a sun pass on the Florida turnpike – note that none of us live in Florida). So the cameras started to flash and proceeded to record every license plate from the Star trailer to the front and back of the big Dodge Ram. We decided that at the next toll booth we would fess up and it turned out that this was a good move especially when the traffic is full on!

We have been here for one week now and I am having the time of my life. The weather is fantastic, the wind is perfect and the water is warm. I really like sailing with Paul. The guy is amazing on the tiller. Unfortunately, I am very rusty having been out of the game for seven months, but thus far we have improved every race so the trend looks promising.

We have completed four races and have two remaining, we are in 3rd place overall with about 65 boats competing for the Bacardi Cup.

Yesterday we had a great day. We finished the race 5th. We had an unbelievable start at the pin with Peter Bromby/Magnus Lilijhdal and traded tacks up most of the beat. I have to take my hat off to Peter and Magnus they are sailing a great regatta.

Truthfully, after being away with my knee surgery/therapy I didn’t know if I wanted to come back and go again but being here with Paul and the boys makes me reconsider…..besides these are my good friends so what else would I do?

One more race to go then back to Mississippi for the Spring Championships sailed out of PCYC.