Please select your home edition
Edition app (top)

Walker named as RYA Director of Racing

by Lindsey Bell 3 Apr 2017 16:57 BST 3 April 2017
Ian Walker MBE is named RYA Director of Racing © Ian Roman / Getty Images / Volvo Ocean Race

RYA Racing will have an experienced new hand at the helm with the announcement that Ian Walker MBE is to take up the Director of Racing position this autumn.

The double Olympic medallist, America's Cup sailor and Volvo Ocean Race-winning skipper will take up the baton from John Derbyshire OBE, who is set to retire later this year after 32 years' involvement with the organisation, including 16 years in the Director of Racing role.

Walker has enjoyed an impressive and multi-faceted career in the sport, winning two Olympic silver medals (470 in 1996; Star in 2000) and coaching Shirley Robertson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb to Yngling gold at Athens 2004.

Among a host of inshore and offshore racing successes, Walker has been involved with two America's Cup campaigns (GBR Challenge in 2003; +39 in 2007) and won the 2014/15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

A trustee of the John Merricks Sailing Trust, set up in memory of his 470 helm, he has also helped provide a supporting hand to numerous young people through the sport of sailing.

As Director of Racing, a position he will take over full time from October, Walker will oversee the RYA's World Class Programme and talent pathways, as well as the broader remit of racing participation in all its forms in the UK.

"Having achieved more than I could have ever dreamed of in a sailing career spanning over 30 years, I have decided that the time is right to take on a new challenge," the 47-year-old explained.

"Being the RYA Director of Racing will give me the opportunity to take a leading role in British sailing and to be able to give something back to the sport that has given me so many fantastic life experiences.

"I am very excited at the prospect of helping the British Sailing Team again in their Olympic quest but, just as importantly, at helping young sailors, the clubs and the volunteers that are the lifeblood of our sport.

"I am sure I will miss the thrill of competition but on a personal level I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and to sailing for fun at my club again."

RYA CEO Sarah Treseder commented: "We're delighted to be welcoming Ian to the RYA family. A world-renowned sailor and outstanding leader, his breadth and depth of experience of the sport will be of huge benefit to the UK racing community.

"His remit is a wide but exciting one – supporting medal-winning performances on the world stage, including Tokyo 2020, and at the same time inspiring future participants, volunteers, coaches and champions to ensure a thriving UK club racing scene.

"I've no doubt Ian will make an exceptional contribution and build on the fantastic work which John has presided over during his many years of valued service to the RYA."

UK Sport Director of Performance Chelsea Warr added: "Ian was the outstanding candidate for the role and the unanimous choice of the panel. He understands what it takes to win at the highest level and has the mindset, experience, leadership and management skills to build on the incredible success of the sailing programme to date.

"I am very much looking forward to working with Ian in his new role. He will not only inject a wealth of new skills and talents into the sailing World Class Programme but also to the wider high performance system."

"I would also like to pay tribute to John Derbyshire who will retire later this year as the Director of Racing following 32 years' involvement with high performance sailing at the RYA, and Stephen Park who will step down as Olympic Manager after over 20 years of involvement with the British Sailing Team. Their incredible dedication and expertise has guided the GB Sailing Programme to unprecedented heights, culminating in reaching top of the medal table in Rio and being the leading sailing nation across this and previous cycles."

Walker concluded: "I'd like to thank the RYA and UK Sport for their confidence in me. John Derbyshire has provided a tough act to follow and I look forward to the benefit of his experience and that of the wider RYA Racing team in the coming months before I take up the reins full time in the autumn."

Related Articles

Harriet Averns named RYA Yachtmaster of the Year
Presented with the prestigious trophy by Richard Falk 25-year-old Kent sailor, Harriet Averns has been named as the recipient of the RYA Yachtmaster® of the Year award for her exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during her RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence exam. Posted on 13 Jan
RYA welcomes new Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe
A new year... and a new CEO at the RYA's helm It's a new year and 'all change' at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as the team today welcomes Sara Sutcliffe MBE as the organisation's new Chief Executive. Posted on 10 Jan
VAT changes to affect recreational boat owners
Confirmation of a Returned Goods Relief waiver is "outstanding news" The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) reported the Government's intention to waive the three-year condition for Returned Goods Relief (RGR) on the 09 December. Posted on 20 Dec 2021
RYA welcomes returned goods relief waiving intent
The draft legislation will amend reference documents for The Customs Regulations 2020 Following a meeting between the RYA and HMRC on 17 November, we welcome the government's intent to waive the 3-year condition for RGR for pleasure craft that are the personal property of a UK resident which are being returned to the UK for personal use. Posted on 9 Dec 2021
Environment Agency proposed registration charges
Changes made after the Royal Yachting Association concerns are listened to The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) welcomes the final outcome given that it had made clear that an opportunity had been missed to create a strategic and viable financial plan for EA waterways. Posted on 7 Dec 2021
FREE ticket to first ever BoatLife Live boat show
Exclusively for RYA Members The RYA is pleased to announce that all members are now able to take advantage of one FREE ticket to the new BoatLife Live Boat Show taking place from 17 - 20 February 2022 at the NEC Birmingham, in the heart of the midlands. Posted on 5 Dec 2021
RYA welcomes Government assurance
That changes to Immigration Act will not criminalise boaters The Home Office has confirmed to the RYA that the amendments the Government is making to section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971 are only intended to apply to those who unlawfully assist immigration and help asylum seekers to enter the UK. Posted on 25 Nov 2021
RYA Volunteer Awards
HRH The Princess Royal celebrates boating's outstanding volunteers Dedicated volunteers from across the UK were awarded for their exceptional commitment and achievements in boating last week (19 November) by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Posted on 25 Nov 2021
RYA renews commitment to reducing carbon emissions
By adopting the United Nations Sports for Climate Action's new target RYA is proud to renew the commitment to reducing carbon emissions by adopting the United Nations Sports for Climate Action's new targets of reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, and of reaching net zero emissions by 2040. Posted on 9 Nov 2021
Sign up for the RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference
The hybrid 2021 edition kicks off on Monday 8th November Following on from the success of the RYA's first-ever virtual Affiliated Clubs Conference last year, the hybrid 2021 edition kicks off on 8th November with a live online evening hosted by double Olympic gold medallist and broadcaster Shirley Robertson. Posted on 3 Nov 2021