Know the Sailors: Ian Williams

Ian Williams, lives Lymington, UK. Highest SSL Ranking: VIP

Ian is best known for his success in match racing. He is the only skipper to have won 5 World Championships and also has 5 National Championships and 3 Youth National Championships in the discipline. He was the first Briton bg_campaignto win the match racing World Championships and as of the end of the 2014/15 World Match Racing Tour Season, is a 13 times winner on the Tour with 35 podium finishes. Ian is also well known on the professional big boat circuit as an accomplished tactician, having won regattas in many different classes. He has been shortlisted twice for the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Award and twice for the British YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award. Ian Williams will sail with Steve Mitchell in the SSL Finals in Nassau, it will be the first time Ian has ever raced in a Star. Ian studied at Bristol University and has a degree in Chemistry and a Law Degree.

SSL: If you weren’t a sportsperson, what would you be?

IW: I’d probably still be a lawyer in the city – that was what I did before I turned professional as a sailor.

SSL: What is the greatest sacrifice you have had to make in order to achieve success?

IW: I think giving up a secure stable job in order to sail full time was a big risk for me. There were no guarantees that I would be successful and sailing is such an unstable sport that there are no guarantees of employment going forward either. So the instability and lack of security is a big sacrifice I think.

SSL: What animal fascinates you?

IW: Ants fascinate me due to their ability to achieve so much though working together. I think it is really interesting to see how an ant reacts when it finds a source of food and how long it takes for an army to turn up.

SSL: What kind of a person makes you angry?

IW: I don’t get on particularly well with people who embellish the truth excessively.

SSL: : What kind of person makes you happy?

IW: Again, somebody who I can trust what they say and who does what they say they will do I tend to get on with well.

SSL: What was is your favourite memory from another sport?

IW: Playing hockey at school and having a successful festival being named player of the tournament. I was captain of my school team and we had not performed well over the year but it came together at the end of the season and that was very satisfying.

SSL: What film inspires you?

IW: Cool Runnings – triumph in the face of adversity, whilst keeping a sense of humour. How can one not be inspired?

SSL: Is there any technique you use when competing to help motivate yourself ?

IW: I always say that motivation when you are competing is the easy bit. It is harder to be motivated away from the race course when you need to put in the hours on the water, in the gym, or in the office. For me my motivation now comes from my wife and son and wanting to make them proud of me, and also wanting to provide for them.

SSL: If you could invite people through history for dinner, who would you choose?

IW: Nelson Mandela is the hero of my lifetime showing incredible fortitude with his program of reconciliation. But I would also love to discuss naval strategy with Admiral Horatio Nelson.

SSL: How many Gold Medals or World Championships is ‘enough’?

IW: X + 1, where X is the number you currently have.

WMRT10AGGC_810_005801SSL: A child asks you if Santa Claus is real, what do you say?

IW: Always refer back to their parents! If it’s my child, I probably ask them what they think (i.e. avoid the question)!

SSL: If you could have a super hero special power what would it be?

IW: Definitely some sort of teleporting ability so as to avoid all those long flights!


1-6 December 2015 – The third edition of the SSL Finals will take place in Nassau, Bahamas

All SSL events use a qualifying competition followed by a knock-out system. Teams take part in the qualifying rounds, which is a series of races over three days. The top 11 teams progress to the knock-out stage, which has four stages. In one-off races teams are eliminated, until just four teams remain to contest the final. The winner takes home a big slice of the $200,000 Prize Purse.

Watch all the action live from the Star Sailors League Final. With expert commentary from special studio guests. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing. Armchair sailors can also join the race with Virtual Regatta.

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