Ian Walker: The Tactician’s Role

Published on April 27th, 2016

ian walker(April 27, 2016) – Double Olympic medalist and 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race winner Ian Walker is calling tactics on Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator at Antigua Race Week. As the event enjoys a lay day after the big party night with Jamaican roots reggae sensation Luciano, Walker ponders the tactician’s role

The tactician’s main job is to work closely with the navigator to devise the best tactics and race strategy. I am the decision maker for the boat, which whilst fun, can also be a brutal, lonely role – just as skippering a Volvo Ocean Race boat can be.

The job gets considerably easier when the boat is going fast and the crew is working well. Nothing makes a tactician look better than a fast, well-sailed boat! For this reason I have a big interest in helping to organise the training time, and working with the trimmers and helmsman to improve the sails and set up of the boat.

Tactics is a high-pressure game but it’s also a bit like riding a bike. You can approach it very analytically and simply manage the percentages and the risk, or you can approach it with a lot of flair, gut instinct or intuition. Is it an art or is it a science? My feeling is that first and foremost, you must treat it as a science and manage the risk and percentages – but you should never be afraid to follow your gut instinct.
Today was the Presidente Lay Day Beach Party featuring the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge.

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Antigua Sailing Week is scheduled daily from Sunday April 24 to Friday April 29 with a lay day on Wednesday April 27.

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