San Diego Sailcast Episode Recap

Episode 003 - Dave Perry

By Jared Wohlgemuth, Casey Allocco | September 14, 2018

Professional sailor and 5-time Match Racing Champion (in addition to many other accomplishments) Dave Perry joins us on the San Diego Sailcast. In today’s news, Team SDYC is competing at the Resolute Cup at New York Yacht Club. The skipper is Tyler Sinks with crew Max Hutcheson, Nick Kaschak and Nick Martin. The winner of the regatta gets the automatic bid to the NYYC Invitational Cup next year. By the time you're hearing this, hopefully that team is SDYC! Congrats to SDYC’s Cutter O’Connell (MIT), Matt Cappetta (Fordham) and Sterling Henken (UC Santa Barbara) who were included on the 2017-2018 All-Academic Team for College Sailing, announced yesterday.

Dave Perry grew up sailing in Southport Connecticut at Pequot Yacht Club, where you can trace his family back to 1681. Dave started goofing around in Sunfish, the “cockroach” of boats, when he was a young kid, and started really racing when the Junior Program started up around age 10. Dave tells stories of his childhood memories on his father’s boat and capsizing with friends. He also reflects on some of Pequot Yacht Club’s finest influences including Briggs Cunningham, Joe Watkins, John Hersey and his many peers and sailing instructors.

His main focus right now remains with Match Racing and keeping the young ones, ages 16-30, in the sport of sailing. He explains the attrition rate around the 15-16 ages. “[Racing] Too early too soon, you lose a lot of kids [sailing] that way.” Dave began his Match Racing clinics with a friend while they were looking for an affordable way to keep kids sailing. Since then, he’s taken over S.O.D.A clinics, works with yacht clubs and travels around the country teaching Match Racing Clinics.

“Sailing is my sport and teaching is my profession. Put the two together and it’s magic,” he says.

Dave took a look back to the differences in sailing Olympic campaigns from the 1970’s when he was campaigning to now, the idea of going to college over sailing and vice versa, and how the sport has became more professional. He speaks to us about some of the struggles with the sport including expenses and commitment levels.

Through his career, Dave transferred his knowledge onto paper. You can find Dave’s books, including a Match Racing Playbook, Quiz Book and How to Win One Designs through US Sailing. He rejoined the Board of Directors at US Sailing and talks about the importance of their Safe Sport initiative with young sailors and the benefits of becoming a member of US Sailing.

Dave discusses the self-policing aspect of the sport, tells stories of past protests and how technology can act as the sailing referee, although that might not be best for the sport. He talks about other technological advancements in sailing and the possibilities like “Google glasses showing you the starting line”, phones, drones and more.

You can find Dave sailing back in San Diego at the International Master’s Regatta from October 19-21, where he’ll tell stories and share in comradery and intense sailing with some of his buddies from the past. “Legendary just means you’re getting older,” he jokes.