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Cayard Complete Part II


  • Cayard Complete Part II

    We began this epic on Paul Cayard with an intro to Paul’s humble beginning, his introduction to the legendary Tom Blackaller and his highlights of his Maxi campaigns with the late Raul Gardini’s il Moro/

    You can review the intro

    We now continue the interview with Paul’s 1st America’s Cup Campaign as the Skpper:

    Paul on nationalism:

    "Back then you couldn’t just race for another country. To qualify under the America’s Cup rules you needed to live in the country you were intending to sail for 3 years prior to the Cup event. Paul was young with no real commitments and had to take time to do some soul searching. He had raced in the Olympics as American just a few years prior, and sailed twice for American Campaigns in the Cup with Blackaller. He was well aware, that if he was successful, he could possibly end up racing against his own Yacht Club (SDYC) in San Diego, for the right to keep the US from returning the Auld Mugg back to US soil. After wrestling with the idea, Paul decided to do it. “From a career standpoint, it was a fantastic event as everyone remembers” Paul says ”As a personal standpoint, it was also a great experience in life. I learned to speak Italian better than I do French, my parents native tongue. My daughter was born in Milan and I have managed to keep my relations in Italy through all these years. I even managed to do Italian broadcast’s of the America’s Cup for Italian TV!” Paul continues ” At the same time, it was a huge leap of faith, to say yes, I’m going to race an Italian Boat against America in the Americas Cup”

    “The Free Trade Element has allowed people to seek employment with different teams. For example, the Italians recently had 3 teams in recent cup event but did not have the enough qualified sailors from their country to fill the ranks, opening doors for Aussies and Kiwis to fill the voids. Loosening the Nationality Rule has allowed professional sailors to build their careers and work globally.” Paul continues, “Also by 1992, branding was allowed in the Cup for the 1st time. Once the sponsoring companies were allowed, the numbers grew a lot and the funding grew. It became a 3 year commitment for sailors, who could now justify moving their families and committing to that campaign.”

    Hoisting the Louis Vitton Trophy

    Mama said there would be days like this

    In 1991, Cayard and Gardini won the 1st ever Americas Cup Class Worlds and then went on to win the 1992 Challenger series and the Louis Vuitton Trophy, which still resides in Paul’s Marin County home. In doing so, Paul not only needed to rely on his sailing skill but skills in the protest room as well. In a well publicize debate, the issues of the Kiwi’s bow sprit had come into question early on in the series. The jury had rule in favor early on for the New Zealand boat, but it was mad very clear to them that if they advanced to the finals the challenge would be re addressed. As promised the legality was brought to question, and every evening after racing hard, Paul would get to spend his evening presenting the case back to the jury, illuminating just how the sprit was being used on seemingly deaf ears.

    Finally, on the eve of elimination and after the 5 days the Jury relented and reversed their original decision, but in doing so only forbade NZ from further use and docked then 1 Point. The score was now 3-1 as opposed to 4-1. NZ obviously shaken by the decision dropped the next two to tie the ball game 3 apiece. The final day Rod Davis and David Barnes were replaced by a Paul Coutts and Brad Butterworth. Paul remembers telling his crew on the ride out to the course that day, ”Guys, just think about the meetings and conversations they have had in their base in the past 12 hours… They completely screwed” Il Moro went on to win the Louis Vuitton Cup but lost handily to Bill Koch’s America 3 in the Cup Final.

    92 Americas Cup- Il Moro vs America 3

    Sailed in San Diego, Bill Koch and Buddy Melges had won the right to defend the Cup against Il Moro, it being the 1st year of the new IACC boats, someone was going to produce the right formula to make the best boat. The Cubans had done just that and their boat America3 was proving dominant. And though they won 5-1, Paul held his own in race two, holding off Buddy Melges by just 3 seconds, the smallest margin in A-Cup History. Paul reflects on that race, “Race 2 told me a lot. We won the start and when you do that, you are able to force other guy do two extra tacks an pad your lead to 15 seconds or so. Usually you can hold that downwind and its worth a certain amount of time, beyond speed of the boat. But they kept reeling us in because they had a narrower hull and a narrower fin. Ours was carbon fiber and theirs was steel. The VPI’s and scientific tools we had at the time rated stability so highly, the disadvantage of having a fatter keel was outweighed having more lead down in the bulb. That turned out to be erroneous. And they figured that out and built a steel fin and had less drag, especially downwind”

    “They were coming to us big time” Paul recalls, “So on the 1st run, I luffed Buddy head to wind and parked him, his spinny wrapped around the headstay and were able to re-extend our lead to 30 seconds. Coming to the finish they almost reeled us in again. Score was 1-1 and everyone was elated, but I knew in my gut, if this was the way it was going to go, it was gonna be a long road to hoe”

    S&S with Dennis Conner 1995
    Paul joined forces with Stars & Stripes 1995 as primary helmsman. His thoughts on that effort:

    “The Defender trials in 95’ were, I think, some of the best sailing I ever did in Cup races, but is probably the least appreciated as seen by the public. We had a slower boat than Mighty Mary or Young America. We had a great crew and were fighting for (the right to defend) a long time. The Finals were staggered with Y.A. starting with 2 points, M.M. 1 and us with none. 1st team to 8 wins! “ Paul elaborates , ”We were in a hole at start and managed to rattle off a string of 6 race wins. I recall crossing on Y.A. on port with just 3 feet to spare…just some spontaneous gut calls… No computer or instruments, just the human element…I could feel our speed and could see their sped and just decided to go for it”

    Stars and Stripes went on to win the Defender series and utilized Young America’s Mermaid boat to defend the Cup. “ We sort of knew already it was a mute point, as Black Magic was dominating all the other challengers ” Paul reflects "I have never been in a race where I felt I had so little control over the other challengers ” Paul reflects "I have never been in a race where I felt I had so little control over the outcome." Black Magic won the Cup 5-0 and led all marks by at least 30 seconds and averaged a 2:52 second delta in the Cup Series.

    Paul on that Black Magic Team: “The Kiwis were demonstrating their ingenuity and resourcefulness and all around teamwork. They were a tight team as opposed to the fracture 92’ team. Tom Schnackenburg was involved, he’s very clever and is a nuclear physicist and had been around a lot of winning. Russell was on top of his game…The boat was well oiled. Narrow with a small rudder, which made it somewhat vulnerable at the start, but Russell is a clever enough sailor to overcome that. He knew all he need to do was be even at the start and the boat would do the rest”

    Flushing the interior of S&S

    During the defender series, the Stars And Stripes team had other excitement pop up. The near sinking of their boat. “It was a very rough on the water, Ralphie was down below and yelled up that we were taking on a LOT of water. We dropped sails and had our tender come over with a pump and a 3” hose, followed by the USCG with another 3” pump. We managed to get her to the dock and sent a diver down to look. We had sheered a 1” X 12” steel plate,” Paul explains ” A 1inch by 12 inch steel plate! The keel literally hanging only by the skin of the hull. They wrapped the dangling keel as best they could and lifted her into her cradle, the keel sitting on it’s bracket and the hull, 2 feet above the cradle” Paul laughs “ It was just all wrong”

    The 97-98 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race

    After the 1995 San Diego effort, Paul was putting together his own syndicate via the StFYC when the phone rang. It was some Swedish friends who needed a replacement skipper for their Whitbread Round the World Campaign. Paul decline at 1st and concentrated on the America One effort. About a month later the phone rang again and this time they convinced Paul it would really help with his A-Cup funding and that there was enough time to do both. Paul approached the America One board and received their blessing. “This would be a chance to get some of my key sailors, my meteorologist, my sail designer on someone else’s’ nickel” Paul remembers” And if it all worked out it would help us get some sponsors!”
    Then reality sets in. “ I remember flying over for the 1st press conference, when I realized just what I had committed to…and not being a big offshore sailor” Paul says. “ I had sailed around Hawaii, the Bermuda Race and Fastnet, 3 days here and there…I was into something I didn’t know anything about..and I was a little scared. I found myself flying over and saying “ Shit, now I gotta go do it!

    All smiles after a successful leg in the Whitbread

    Fully Bearded

    Paul introduced an Olympic and Americas Cup style training and preparation to the EF Language program with intensity which had not been seen before in the Whitbread campaign. “ We trained ourselves much more as athletes, and would hit the gym hard when on shore.“Paul relates” and I would not let the guys bring anything unnecessary on board even chocolate , which is a short term rush and then you fall off again. We ran it hard and we learned some tough lessons”

    “On the Southern Ocean we got into a situation where we really didn’t know what we were doing, almost killing one of the crewmembers one night by not respecting Mother Nature” concedes Paul he then ordered a shut down of sorts, just running with the reefed main. ” We had broken a lot of gear, the pole, a couple sails. The guys were really tired and run down. I thought the fastest way to the finish was to sail slowly at that time…So we just rumbled along for 12 to 18 hours with just the mainsail. That way we would just have 2-3 guys on deck, lots of people resting and a few doing repairs. Just let the whole thing calm down a little bit. You sometimes have to swallow your pride A few boats passed us but we lived to sail another day . The important thing was what we learned from leg 2, we put to use in leg 5 from NZ to Cape Horn, and we had 140 lead in that leg at Cape Horn, the 3rd leg we had won.” When pressed about further ambitions for the Volvo , Paul informs, ” I love that race, it’s different from any other races, Americas Cup included. There is a human element, a personal discovery element while racing around the world that you just can’t find anywhere else. And if the situation presented itself again, and that have to be within the next 10 years, I would consider it again for sure!” Paul continues “But there is also the part of being physically fit enough to do it. I think it’s important that level to participate as a crew member in every aspect of the boat. So when we are doing sail changes, there is no reason why the skipper can’t be at the bow of the boat pulling down the jib. That’s how I’ve approached that race in the past and I wouldn’t go if I was not able to do it that way!

    ….to be continued…
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