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IAN WALKER: Sharing the lessons learned

Published on May 1st, 2013

In the Olympics, Britain’s Ian Walker was a two-time silver medalist, triumphant in the 470 (1996) and the Star (2000). But his Volvo Ocean Race career has been far less successful, skippering hard-luck campaigns in the past two races. Now planning his third campaign, Ian from experience…

On being the team leader…
The 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Green Dragon was a voyage into the unknown for me – my longest previous offshore race was the Fastnet! There is always the nagging doubt as to whether you are up to the challenge. Fortunately I had a very strong team around me and I was able to learn from the likes of Neal McDonald and Damian Foxall.

When I lead Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the 2011-12 edition, the race seemed far more familiar to me although we had to overcome challenges of a different kind (like the boat damage and coming to terms with not being as competitive as we would have liked).

In the next race, I am most looking forward to racing on a level playing field in one design boats. Having been off the pace for the past two races, it is very tough to deal with in a long race. This time I hope it is going to be more like Olympic, Farr 40 or even TP52 racing – just a whole lot longer and tougher!

The keys to crew selection…
I am fortunate to have been surrounded by some very good sailors in the past 2 races. Just like in any other boat, when things go well it is very easy to get along well as a team, but you need real strength of character when things do not go as planned.

Like any strong team in sport or business, it relies on having shared goals, mutual respect and the ability to communicate with each other and help each other and the team to improve their performance.

For the 2014-15 Race, I want to build a team of experienced, fast, International offshore sailors but I also want people that will be good ambassadors for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and who I will enjoy spending 18 months of my life with.

For Sale: Ian’s team will be training this summer onboard the Volvo Open 70 used in the 2011-12 race, but the boat is also for sale. Maintained from new by a world class professional shore team, with many new upgrades, this Farr design is an excellent opportunity to acquire one of the worlds most exciting yachts. Details here.

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