From Caterham F1 to Class40

Mike Gascoyne shares his unique perspective on the sport of sailing
Parallels between the grand prix end of yacht racing and Formula 1 have often been made. There was a lot of talk recently, for example, of Ben Ainslie attempting to coax Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer of the Red Bull Racing Formula One, to be part of the next British America’s Cup effort. However Newey’s opposite number (until recently) at the Caterham F1 team, Mike Gascoyne, has already made the leap, albeit into a different avenue within our sport. Yesterday Gascoyne finished his first ever shorthanded ocean race aboard his Class40 Caterham Challenge, competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre doublehanded race to Itajai, Brazil with experienced British round the world sailor, Brian Thompson. Read more about their exploits here. While shorthanded offshore racing is a new departure for him, Gascoyne has sailed all his life. Heralding from Norwich, where his father, a wood and metal work teacher, ran Norfolk Schools Sailing Association, his first sailing experience was on the Broads aboard a Wayfarer. Gascoyne says he has since repeated this experience with his own kids. Gascoyne sailed up until the time he went off to university when he got lured off into paragliding and some ambitious mountaineering expeditions in the Alps and Himalayas. He embarked on his Formula 1 career more or less fresh out of university in 1989, initially as an aerodynamicist for McLaren, but his meteoric rise in motorsport came at Tyrrell and Sauber, working under the wing of the great F1 designer Harvey Postlethwaite. He was soon off on the F1 rollercoaster, perpetually on the road preparing for, or exiting from, Grand Prix around the world and with little time for anything else. However over the last 15 years Gascoyne has returned to sailing and has owned cruising boats. Today he still keeps a Jeanneau 57 berthed in Barcelona.