About me

Ian Walker
Date of Birth:
25 Feb 1970
1.82 m
84 kg
Worcester, UK
Marital Status:

Question & answer

  • When and where did you first sail?
    Aged 8 on a small lake at Chipstead Sailing Club in England.
  • What has been your proudest sailing moment?
    Probably winning either of my Olympic medals or completing my first Round the World sail.
  • Can you recall your scariest moment at sea?
    Yes in leg 1 of the last race we hit something at night and came to a crashing halt. I thought the mast had fallen down or the keel had fallen off but in fact I think we hit a whale and smashed the front face of the keel fin.
  • In 3 words, summarise your role on the boat?
    skipper, decision-maker, accountability resource.
  • What do you miss most when you are at sea?
    Fresh food and my family.
  • How are you enjoying life in Abu Dhabi?
    I have loved the last six months in Abu Dhabi. I hope to live here after the race.
  • Best Abu Dhabi moment?
    Probably the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and rubbing shoulders with all the celebrities.
  • What do you think visitors to Abu Dhabi can expect when the yachts come in on New Year's day?
    A very warm welcome, beautiful weather, good food and an insight into the local history and maritime culture.
  • Which leg of the race are you most excited about and why?
    Leg 1 as we will see how competitive our boat is against the opposition.
  • Who is your sailing inspiration?
    Sir Peter Blake as he won every leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and he led a team to win the America's Cup.
  • Are there any 'home comforts' that you'll be sneaking on board?
    Sometimes I sneak on some sweets for the long nights in the navigation station.
  • What's the first thing you'll do when you reach port after each leg?
    Hopefully I will hug my family if I do not smell too much and they let me.
  • Do you have any tips for budding young sailors who are keen to get started?
    You need to have a good hard working attitude and sail as much as you can in as many different boats as you can. Experience is crucial.
  • What would you have done if you hadn't been a sailor?
    I would like to have run my own business like my father.
  • How will you prepare for the race? (exercise/food/sleep)
    I am training every day in the gym and trying to get as fit and as strong as I can. I want to gain 5 kilos and stay injury free.
  • How important is winning to you?
    Winning is very important and it is the reason most of the team are here. I am a very competitive person but I believe you have to win in the correct way. I would take no pride from winning if I lost the respect of my competitors.
  • How will you keep morale high if you experience any difficulties. How will you keep everyone focused/entertained?
    The team is very professional but everyone will have bad times. I am a very positive person and love the challenge of adversity. You must deal with each difficulty as it comes along.
  • What is the best piece of advice you have been given about the race i.e. 'look after the boat and it will look after you'?
    A good friend Tim Robinson once said to me that it is not the first 100 yards that count but the last! I will try to make sure we get to sail the last 100 yards.
  • What would we find under your bunk?
    I don't have my own bunk and will often sleep in the navigation station. But under the bunks are spares, stores, food, tools and probably lots of sweat when we are in the tropics.

Meet Ian Walker


Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s skipper, is one of Britain’s most successful sailors, with two Olympic silver medals to his name.

A father of two from Southampton, Walker was skipper and sailing manager of the 2002 British America's Cup Team. He has accrued a wealth of sailing experience in a two-decade career, which includes coaching the 2004 British Olympic Gold medal winning women's keelboat sailing team, winning the TP52 Global Championship, and leading the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race outfit, Green Dragon – one of only three teams to finish every leg of the event unassisted.

At Atlanta’s 1996 Summer Olympics, Walker took the silver medal in the 470 class following this up at Sydney’s 2000 Summer Olympics with the silver medal in the Star class.

my all time top 5 achievements

  • 2008 - Volvo Ocean Race, Green Dragon - Skipper
  • 2004 - Olympic coach to Shirley Robertson - Gold medal
  • 2000 - Olympic star class (Helm) - Silver medal
  • 2001 - America’s Cup - GBR Challenge - Skipper
  • 1996 - Olympics 470 class (Crew) - Silver medal

When, in 2000, Britain launched its first America’s Cup bid, Walker was named as skipper. Then, in the 2007 America’s Cup, he joined fellow Olympic medallist Iain Percy as tactician of the Italian team +39 Challenge. His America’s Cup commitments were combined with the highly successful TP52 campaign as skipper of 'Patches', owned by Eamon Conneely.

A self-confessed West Ham United fan, Walker - a member of Itchenor Sailing Club – is a graduate of Cambridge University, one of the UK’s ‘Ivy League’ institutions