Being appointed as a Clipper Race Skipper is the realisation of a long-held career aim for Ian. Having avidly followed the race online for many years, his desire to be involved never went away as he set out to make his dream a reality.
On his appointment, Ian says: “I’ve been purposefully working towards my goal of being a Clipper Race Skipper for the last ten years. I’ve avidly followed previous editions online and now feel unbelievable pride that it’s my turn to live it for real, getting to guide, motivate, and lead a competitive team in such an awesome challenge.”
After starting out racing in Plymouth in 2006 on board a Beneteau 40.7, Ian later moved to the Isle of Wight to pursue sailing full-time, gaining as much racing experience as possible on various different yachts and local races.
Ian has dedicated his career ever since to sailing instruction and racing. Over the past six years he has raced and led trips all over the world, including around Europe, the South Pacific, Morocco, the Caribbean and Australia. He recently made his seventh Atlantic crossing and has also crossed the Pacific Ocean.
Ian’s most recent job was spent working for a study abroad organisation, which takes students aged 17 to 25 to sea for three months. During the 90 days voyages, he taught his students to cross oceans, study marine sciences, and also learn scuba diving. The voyages exposed Ian to many challenges and he found watching the transformation of individuals and the development of the crew as a whole an immensely satisfying experience. “I am extremely competitive but my top priority is crew and vessel safety,” says Ian.
“Even the greatest sailor can’t win the Clipper Race on their own. The approach I will take to my team is to facilitate a competitive crew which maintains the highest standards in all areas.
“For me, the sailing and racing will only be one part of a successful circumnavigation. I believe that my experience and passion for creating a positive, inclusive, and supportive atmosphere will be my defining responsibility.”
Of the oceans he is most looking forward to crossing on the race, Ian says: “The remoteness and might of the Southern Ocean has always fascinated me. I am very excited for days and days of downwind surfing. This will be a true test of endurance.”
And when asked which regions of the world he is most looking forward to sail into, he says: “I am looking forward to visiting China. The arrival parties seem very extravagant and the people seem most welcoming. I can’t wait to explore the culture and the history.”
In addition to his sailing qualifications, Ian has a BA Hons in Outdoor Adventure and Leadership Management from Worcester University.