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Ian Walker to Step Down as RYA Racing Director

14th April 2022
Ian Walker
Ian Walker (left) will step down as RYA racing director in mid-July

Ian Walker MBE will be stepping down from his position as RYA racing director this summer, the organisation has confirmed.

Walker joined the RYA in the autumn of 2017 and, in his dual role as performance director, he oversaw the British Sailing Team’s success in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics — which included Dublin sailor Saskia Tidey’s strong showing with 49erFX partner Charlotte Dobson.

The RYA says Walker has also been instrumental to the strategic planning for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle.

During the pandemic, he was central to the development of the RYA’s COVID-19 response and enabling people back on the water as soon as possible.

Well-known for his emphasis on high performance, the former Irish Green Dragon VOR skipper has also been passionate about youth and junior sailing and has prioritised the support of clubs and volunteers.

Commenting on his time at the RYA, Walker said: “I am very grateful to the RYA for believing and trusting in me when I was fresh out of professional sailing.

“I have learnt so much over the last four years and much of that I have learnt from the incredibly dedicated staff and volunteers I have worked with. It has been a very challenging time for everyone under the backdrop of COVID-19.

“I think now is a good time for me to leave as we are in a short lull between Olympic cycles and the RYA will soon be starting the process of creating their new strategy for the next generation.

“We have a very capable and enthusiastic senior management team, and under Sara Sutcliffe’s leadership the future looks very promising for the RYA. It is a good time for me to take on a new challenge and give a chance for others to take on new responsibilities.”

RYA chief executive Sara Sutcliffe, said: “I am of course sorry to see Ian leave the RYA and wish him the very best as he embarks on new challenges. His support to me in my first few months as CEO has been outstanding and I know he will be there to offer me advice in the future.

“The leadership he has brought to the British Sailing Team and the Racing Department will leave a lasting legacy. He will be missed by all his colleagues at the RYA.”

Walker concluded: “The RYA has been part of my life since I was a youth sailor over thirty years ago. I now have a far greater understanding of the value that the RYA brings to sailing in this country and I hope I can continue to support them in the future.”

Walker will continue in his role as RYA racing director until mid-July.

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