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 crew, 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.
Walker said: “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.”