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Ian Walker on his RYA role and future sailing adventures

One of Britain's most successful Olympic sailors

Ian Walker is one of Britain’s most successful Olympic sailors and has skippered yachts in three editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Photo by Matt Knighton/Volvo Ocean Race

As such he has a fair few stories to tell about adventure at sea! We caught up with him at the recent London Boat Show where he was part of the launch of Musto‘s new MPX collection.

A52: What adventures do you have lined up in 2018?

Ian: “One of the reasons I took the job as Racing Director of the RYA is to be at home more for my family. I will be helping my kids with their 420 and Topper sailing as well as sailing my own RS400 at Warsash SC. Our biggest adventure will be cruising with Sunsail in the BVIs in April – we can’t wait!”

A52: You hold the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the Isle of Wight. Are you ever tempted to try it again but faster?

Ian: “Sadly my record was taken last year and I doubt I will have access to an MOD70 or similar in the near future. You also need strong Northerly winds to have a chance of getting under 2 hours so I doubt I will try again any time soon. I am planning to help a friend’s daughter sail around in her laser next year to raise money for an expedition though!”

Showing that sailing and adventure has its challenges. This taken during the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race by Matt Knighton. Waterproofs made by MUSTO and doing the job!

 

Photo by Victor Fraile / Volvo Ocean Race

A52: What would you say has been your most adventurous sailing experience?

Ian: “Tough question! I think delaminating our boat 1,500 miles from land in the Southern Ocean and then having to limp into Puerto Montt in Chile via the fjords was quite an adventure. Also we had a real epic in the Straits of Luzon between the Philippines and Taiwan in my first Volvo Ocean Race. We damaged the bow of the boat, had to turn around sail back to the Philippines in 50 knots of wind, find a safe anchorage, repair the boat and then sail on to China very carefully.”

Photo by Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Ocean

A52: Is there anywhere you haven’t sailed yet but really want to?

Ian: “There are lots of places I would love to sail. I would love to explore the West Coast of South America properly, Pacific Islands, Galapagos Islands and I would love to go to South Georgia and pay my respects to Shackleton – the greatest leader that ever lived!”

 

A52: What other adventure activities do you take part in?
Ian: “I love most sports, but in terms of adventure then kitesurfing is my favourite and I often go to Egypt for this. I also like skiing but don’t get to do this so often now.”

About the author: Dan Tye

Dan came up with the idea for Adventure 52 after realising there wasn't a single publication focusing on adventure. He has been a pilot in the RAF, a ski instructor and has spent the past 12 years as journalist for motorcycling, flying and adventure magazines.