The Royal BVI Yacht Club youth sailing programme was treated to a special guest this week when world renowned sailor Ian Walker dropped by to join Tuesday’s training session at Nanny Cay.
The winning skipper of the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race and double Olympic silver medalist visited the sailing centre at Nanny Cay and went out on the water with the team.
The Optimists and Laser fleets headed out after a quick briefing onshore just like a normal Tuesday session but with an extra pair of coaching eyes analyzing their performance.
Walker observed the first races from the coach boat, jumped into a Laser with Dawson van Zoost to run through some finer tuning points and then, for the final race of the session, he took on the race team in an Optimist – a far cry from the 300 tonne boat he was skippering just last week!
Giving the team a run for their money in the pre-start build up and on the start line, he suffered slightly from lack of boat speed giving Team BVI the win.
Back ashore, at the debrief, he chatted with the race team about starting strategies, downwind techniques and rules, emphasizing the importance of sail set up, practice and learning to be fast through the water. The questions poured forth from the young sailors, keen to hear more on topics ranging from watch systems on the Volvo Ocean Race and prize money to the theory of apparent wind.
Walker, recipient of this year’s boats.com YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award, skippered Abu Dhabi to victory in the 2014/2015 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, his third circumnavigation with the race having skippered Abu Dhabi in 2011/2012 and Green Dragon in the 2008/2009 races. At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, he won the silver medal in the 470 class before switching to the Star and picking up another silver in 2000. In 2004 he coached Shirley Robertson’s team to gold at the Athens Olympics in the Yngling.