Paul Heys was not a gold medallist or America’s Cup winner. But, in Europe especially, he was well known and very popular, a man who encouraged countless entrants into sailing
and helped countless others to push up the ladder of big boat racing, developing new skills and discovering existing skills they never knew they had.
From J/Boat ‘mission control’ in the Solent, Paul and his wife Marie-Claude, herself an ocean racer of formidable reputation, ran the most friendly and generous of family businesses, Key Yachting, always finding time to help you out with the most mundane enquiry. They fought the corner for their J/Boat owners when it came to rating and other relevant matters, as well as organising some great regattas at which novice owners were helped through proceedings. They invariably left happy, whatever their results on the water.
Our own beer-can class of choice is the J/80 and Paul was always there backing us up as we looked for new ways to get people into the class. Same elsewhere with other J/Boat classes. Paul was a great bloke and he will be missed a lot.
By Andrew Hurst, Seahorse Magazine