1.         Name: Ryan Wilson

2.         Club: Carrickfergus Sailing Club

3.         Age: 24

4.         What age did you start sailing?  

Cruising / club racing with parents since very young, first did sailing course at age 10 (I think).  

5.         How did you start sailing?  

I was fortunate enough to come from a family with a sailing background. When I was born, my parents owned a Ruffian 23, I was taken sailing on that. A few years later my dad built a 27 foot keelboat on which we spent a few summers cruising the Scottish Isles and racing regularly at East Antrim Boat club points racing.

My Dad then bought a Mirror Dinghy when I was around 9/10 years old which we sailed together for a while, before I got my first (of five) toppers, a manly pink one for my tenth birthday. I then went on to do a sailing course at Carrickfergus that summer, and it went from there!   

6.         What do you enjoy most about sailing/boating: 

Ryan and team sailing RS Elite

I’ve always been a seriously competitive person, so it’s been great to get racing in the Elite over the past few years. However, I recently bought an old Laser and I love just going out for a sail to clear the head and having no contact with the outer world for an hour or so.   

7.         Top 3 Past experiences/results in boating: 

This year I with my crew (Chris Penney & Simon Martin) came 2nd in the RS Elite Irish Nationals. I feel this has been one of the most fun events we have sailed together and it really is a great class to be a part of, both on and off the water. 

A few summers ago my parents and I delivered their new yacht from Cork to Carrick. We had 25-30 knots of breeze from the South East, with sunny skies and a gigantic swell. Probably the best conditions you could ask for, for a delivery trip (not sure mum agrees). We also spent about 2 hours of the journey surrounded by Dolphins playing our bow wave which still fascinate me every time I see them.  

Back when I was sailing Toppers it was a fantastic experience through the 4/5 years I spent in them, I only ever won one event, which was a Munster Championships in Kilrush, which felt amazing. The most memorable event was an Ulster Championships at LEYC, where we spent the majority of our off-water time sliding down a steep track in the forest behind the club in two old Kayaks. The social side of the Topper class really was fantastic.  

8.         Something interesting about you no one knows:  

I run my own video production company called http://ryanwilsonvideo.com   and recently have dedicated sometime to recording sailing through my sub brand http://sixnineone.co  

It’s been great having the opportunity to travel across the world filming a variety of work. 

9.         What other activities do you enjoy: 

Photography and Videography have always played a big part in my life. I also try to get to snowboard at least once a year and run about 50KM a week.     

10.     What do you aspire to in sailing in the future: 

Ryan Sailing the Waspz in AustraliaNext year the RS Elite Irish and British Championships will both be held in Northern Ireland, so it would be nice to win the Irish and at be least a top 3 in the British (we were 6th Last year).  

Whilst in Australia earlier in the year, I had the opportunity to try Waszp sailing, and it’s probably been the most fun/exhausting time I’ve ever had in a boat. Definitely would like to get purchase my own moth/waszp in the next few years when I can afford it.  

I’ve never had the opportunity to do much big boat stuff, but it’s something which is also high on the bucket list. So if you are reading this and looking some crew who can also make you look pretty in photos get in touch!  

I’d like to build on sixnineone.co and film more and more events to help promote sailing. It really is nice to see that sailing is getting more and more coverage online and on television but it’s still a long way from being on power with other sports.

Photo Credits:

RS Elite Nationals Photos - http://bradleyquinn.com/

Waszp Photos - Saskia Clark 

We are looking for sailors at all stages of life and sailing ability. The aim of these articles is to express what the sport means to the participants and show why we love it so much!  

Our thanks to Ryan for sharing his answers with us. If there is someone you would like to see as our Sailor in Focus, please get in touch; mary.martin@rya.org.uk