About me

Paul Willcox
Date of Birth:
08 July 1983
1.79 m
96 kg
Johannesburg, South Africa
South African
Marital Status:

Question & answer

  • When and where did you first sail?
    1989 sailed an optimist on Victoria Lake in Johannesburg. Was my first sail by myself.
  • What has been your proudest sailing moment?
    Winning the j22 worlds in Durban South Africa.
  • Can you recall your scariest moment at sea?
    Losing the rudder bearings during the South Atlantic race. Having to slow down and turn round into 40 knots with 15m waves.
  • What do you miss most when you are at sea?
    Dry clothes and a shower.
  • How are you enjoying life in Abu Dhabi?
    Being exposed to a different culture has been fascinating and we've been treated really well.
  • Best Abu Dhabi moment?
    Ferrari World Abu Dhabi's Formula Rossa rollercoaster. It's the fastest in the world and goes from 0 to 240kmp/h in 4 seconds. Mind blowing.
  • What do you think visitors to Abu Dhabi can expect when the yachts come in on New Year's day?
    A very warm welcome, by very friendly people, to a place that is full of stuff to do! Not going to get bored here.
  • Which leg of the race are you most excited about and why?
    I have three. The first to Cape Town, sailing into my home port will be awesome. Then the second into Abu Dhabi, sailing into the team's home port. Then the leg around the horn for obvious reasons, it will be my first time and is a right of passage for sailors.
  • Who is your sailing inspiration?
    Ben Ainslie.
  • Are there any 'home comforts' that you'll be sneaking on board?
    Can't give that away in case the skipper finds out.
  • What's the first thing you'll do when you reach port after each leg?
    Probably have a good wash.
  • Do you have any tips for budding young sailors who are keen to get started?
    Stick with it. Hard work and perseverance pay off.
  • What would you have done if you hadn't been a sailor?
    I have no idea, thankfully I don't have to find out.
  • How will you prepare for the race? (exercise/food/sleep)
    Loads of strength training along with loads of food. Rest is good for training.
  • How important is winning to you?
    That is why we compete.
  • How will you keep morale high if you experience any difficulties. How will you keep everyone focused/entertained?
    Always look on the bright side. Life is too short not to.
  • What is the best piece of advice you have been given about the race i.e. 'look after the boat and it will look after you'?
    Eat when you can. Sleep when you can. And go to the toilet when you can. You never know when you going to change the sails again in this race.
  • What would we find under your bunk?
    One of my smelly team mates.

Meet Paul Willcox

Reserve Race Team

Paul Willcox is one of South Africa’s leading, next generation sailors with numerous national championship titles to his name.

Paul started sailing at the age of six when his father bought him his first optimist and the young sailor made the most of conditions in a land-locked Johannesburg, spending time out on lakes brushing up his skills.

my all time top 5 achievements

  • 2010 - Volvo Ocean Race, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - Joined
  • 2009 - RORC (Helm) - Winner
  • 2007 - J22 World Championships - Winner
  • 1999 - ISAF Youth World Championships, Finland
  • 1996 - Optimist World Championships, Ireland

Now in Cape Town, Paul has been involved in a wealth of successful keel boat campaigns both in South Africa and around the world, the latest of which saw him helm The Ker 46 Tonnerre De Breskens to become the 2010 RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) Boat of the Year.

Paul also has experience in the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race having worked with Team Russia in the 2008/09 campaign as a reserve sailor and with the shore team in the sail loft.