A hundred feet up at Fifty

Going up the mast is a young man’s job, or it was thought to be until this regatta when Paul Cayard, aged 50, went up the rig for the first time in his career as windspotter for Artemis…

As the skipper, or ‘team captain’ as he prefers to call himself, Paul Cayard could probably have put himself anywhere in the afterguard of the boat, his feet safely on deck. Instead, he banished himself to the windspotter’s position a hundred feet above deck.

“The view is beautiful, but the boat sure does look skinny from up there,” said Cayard after his first foray up the rig. It goes without saying that you need a head for heights, but you also need to be ready to take the knocks. Every time the boat crashes through a wave, the top of the mast is moving arcing back and forth by a matter of metres. Hanging on is not easy, and bruises are inevitable.

So why is the oldest man on the boat the one who gets hoisted up the mast? Cayard laughs and describes his new role as “a man facing up to his mid-life crisis”. More seriously, he continues: “We talked about it for a while and we decided for Artemis that it would be better to have Terry [Hutchinson] be the helmsman. Morgan [Larson] is his tactician in the Quantum Racing TP52 campaign they’ve been doing.