The sailing and mateship with SWD has had a positive impact on Ian’s life - something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his wife Diana, and children, Jasmine and Adam.
When the annual call for crew came about for the Northern Campaign, involving Try Sail days for hundreds of NSW and Queensland school children, Diana and family agreed that Dad deserved a break. They had no hesitation in giving him the ‘green light’ for the eight-week sailing adventure.
Ian says prior to that he was a deadline-driven corporate CEO. He loved sport but was so time poor that his weekend preoccupation was spreadsheets and reports.
Things are different now, and recently Ian’s son Adam commented, "Dad, you're a different person now - relaxed, and really chilled." Ian thinks that's a pretty cool comment coming from his son, and he is excited about gaining blue water experience as a member of the faceboat crew. He'll also be racking up sea miles with dolphins, and whale watching as far north as Bundaberg and Mackay.
Ian and Diana’s life changed dramatically two years ago when their 13 year old daughter Jasmine suffered a severe debilitating illness. Jasmine has now fully recovered and has her sights firmly set on education and becoming a paramedic.
Jasmine was on the road to recovery when Ian began researching volunteer organisations, even considering setting one up from scratch.
But when he came across SWD and its positive sailing programs for young people, he knew this was the one. “My wife Diana is proud of the fact that I’ve gone from a corporate workaholic to someone who wants to make a difference.“ Ian says. At the time of writing, Ian had just finished a Winds of Change program for young Aboriginal students from a regional school in Inverell, in northern New South Wales.
“The kids were great.” said Ian. “They hadn’t seen Sydney Harbour before and wanted to see the Opera House and sail under the Harbour Bridge. Once they were out on the Harbour with the usual activity from the ferries and boats, their eyes lit up like saucers.”
Ian sails with Try Sail
twice a week and he learns something new each time he goes out. There is nothing better than having a beer or two and "chewing the fat" with your mates at the end of the day. He enjoys conversations with like-minded people and talking about boats and navigation with the skipper on the day. He is keen to learn and is working towards his Yacht Master Certificate, which he says will be a great achievement.
Ian’s love of sailing and everything outdoors began as a child in the UK, where he learned to sail with the Boys Scouts in Plymouth. He later bought a 14 foot sailing dinghy (gaff rig) then upgraded to a yacht he called “a big tub of a thing”. He sailed this around Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall.
"Our children were very small at the time and we constantly had to keep an eye on them to make sure they didn’t slip or injure themselves on board" says Ian. The Big Tub had to go in the end (for safety reasons) and soon after, the family decided to make Australia their home.