New post for sailor

New post for sailor

9 September 2020

LOCAL sailor Hammy Baker has been appointed the new RYA Northern Ireland Performance Manager and will be taking up his post this week.

Recruitment for the role started in February, but it was delayed until lockdown measures eased and continued funding from Sport Northern Ireland was confirmed.

Hammy started competitive sailing at the age of nine, racing Toppers dinghies at Quoile Yacht Club.

By the age of 13, he was selected to be part of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Squad in Toppers, and two years later in the Laser Youth Squad. After winning the Northern Ireland Youth National Championship, he represented Ireland in the Laser Europeans and World Championship.

In 2014, Hanny was selected as part of the British Keelboat Academy and won the IRC National Championship.

His big break came when he got accepted into the Artemis Offshore Academy to be part of the 2015 squad.

After training in Lorient in France, he took part in his first Solitaire – Bompard Le Figaro, finishing in 32nd place. Since then he has worked as a professional sailor.

Welcoming Hammy to the RYA Northern Ireland team, Chief Operating Officer Richard Honeyford said: “At RYA Northern Ireland, we are delighted to welcome Hammy on board as the new Performance Manager at a critical time for performance sport and our local athletes.  

“With the Olympics delayed until 2021, Hammy will be looking to ensure our High Performance athletes get the best possible support as well as looking to ensure the pathway and club development plans are prioritised.”

Commenting on his new post, Hanmmy said: “Since our first family holidays on my parents’ boat, right up to sailing competitively at a professional level, I have always felt very fortunate to be involved in this sport.

“I realise it would not be possible if not for the work of our clubs, volunteers and the work carried out by the RYANI. 

“Having gone from club racing and through the squad systems myself, I know how important this stage of coaching and nurturing is to a future athlete.

“I hope to carry on the great work carried out by my predecessors and give something back to the sport I love through growing the depth of sailing here in Northern Ireland.”

He added: “To me, sailing is a sport for life and I hope it can be for others too.”