Sunday, March 31, 2019

Celebrating the Life of Paul Heys

Paul Heys sailing new J/99
(Hamble, Southampton, United Kingdom)- The sailing world paid tribute to one of its own on March 19th as 500+ sailors gathered at Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble, UK to celebrate the life of Paul Heys- husband, father, brother, friend, colleague, sailing mate, and sailing entrepreneur (pictured above on the newly introduced J/99 in England).

A dock walk thru Port Hamble Marina and Hamble Marina Services only scratches the surface of the impact Paul’s love and dedication for sailing had on the greater sailing community. J/Boats of all sizes and vintages are around every corner, from early model J/80’s and J/105’s to last year’s IRC World Champion J/112E and the newly launched J/99 Hull #1.
Paul Heys on new J/121 off Bristol, RI
Paul only had one speed, and that was full speed ahead (like steering the first J/121 above off Bristol, RI). He woke earlier and worked later, and in between, managed to accomplish more in a day than most do in a week. Whether on a boat or in the boatyard, he inspired everyone around him to “do the job right” and along the way gave many young sailors their first opportunity to work in the sailing industry. He went the extra mile to make sure everyone was having the most fun possible with their boats. Sailing couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador.

Paul will forever be part of the J family and the J story. He and Marie-Claude were there for the first J/80 Worlds in 2001 in Newport, and for so many subsequent firsts including the launch of J/122 hull #1 in 2006, and the more recent hull #1 launchings of the J/121 and J/99. The face of one-design keelboat racing in the UK is forever changed thanks to the J/80, J/109, J/88, J/111, and J/70 classes that Paul and his J/UK team incubated and supported, not to mention the many other J designs he introduced to the UK market and successfully campaigned at the highest levels. The annual J/Cup regatta, founded by Paul, is one of the most prestigious keelboat events on the UK schedule. The 2019 J/Cup, slated for July 18-20 at Royal Southern Yacht Club, is expected to be the biggest yet.

Paul’s lifelong devotion and passion for sailing was second to none, and his legacy will live on through everyone who knew him, the numerous J/one-design fleets and annual J/Cup regatta he founded, and the many other thousands of sailors he inspired along the way. Paul would have wanted to share the credit with his incredible team (both past and present) at J-UK / Key Yachting. He was after all the consummate teammate. We will miss you Paul. Add to Flipboard Magazine.