John started sailing when he was ten years old in Cadet dinghies at Blyth with the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club. Sailing as well at Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club and Solway Yacht Club, then racing this type of boat on the cadet circuit in UK and at the Nationals.
Later progressing into Laser racing when he was at college, also crewing on a North East England based quarter tonner, which they campaigned at Cowes Week in the Solent. When his teacher training college merged with Manchester Polytechnic, he became a member of the British Polytechnic sailing team, racing with them at match and team events. Summer breaks were spent working teaching sailing at Howtown Outdoor Centre on Ullswater.
After qualifying from college as a PE teacher he started work in Tynemouth. Where quite naturally with his own passion for sailing, he introduced it to the school there. John started work in Scotland for the first time at Cumbrae in 1980. Teaching all levels and types of sailing and also other sports at Inverclyde, before moving south again to the English equivalent Bisham Abbey National Centre in Marlow from 1986-1990. During his leisure time he continued racing lasers and keelboats on the south coast.
After returning to Scotland again in 1990, John became the Deputy Principal of the Scottish National Sports Centre at Inverclyde and in 1995 was appointed Principle. Continuing with his own personal interest in sailing, he has achieved yacht of the week many times at Largs Regatta week, racing his own boat ‘Farr E Nuff’. His competitive steak is shown when it is time to try and regain this title each year! John does a great deal of voluntary roles within the sports and contributes greatly to national and local level projects. He is very aware of the pathways into the sport and the opportunities for development through his role at the centre, his local club and RYA squad activity.
John has been the Principal at Cumbrae as well as Inverclyde since 2007. His aim being, to bring a joined up strategy, to promote and manage both these excellent facilities that provide sporting opportunities, for both experts and beginners in Scotland.
John values the simplicities that watersports can offer. He is attracted to the sport as it gets him into the outdoors to enjoy all the wonderful scenery and the elements of nature. He enjoys the balance of competiton and meeting friends and like minded sailors.
Not unsurprisingly given John’s fondness and success racing ‘Farr E Nuff’, all his tips are about racing yachts but most would apply equally to racing dinghies.
‘So often yachts arrive at the race area too late for the start. The big rush to get out of the marina! Far better to get on the water early and try the windward leg out, this can quickly determine if you’ve made the right choice of sail size, favouring tack options etc’.
‘Be prepared for the start. Talk through with your crew all the possibilities and what if’s?’
‘If there is an earlier start than your own, watch the other fleet go up the first leg. This can determine whose tactics are working out best’.
‘Even though it’s crowded stay near the starting line to see everything’.
‘Applying all these items would mean a good start!!!!!!!!!!!
But have you cleaned the bottom of the boat recently?’
John’s favourite piece of clothing kit would have to be his waterproofs – “they come in very handy on the Clyde!”
On a free afternoon, given the choice to get afloat with any piece of equipment John would select a GPS. He is keen to master new technology and use it well at see as it is good to know your location!
John brings to the Centre a commitment to ensure that it is a safe and secure learning environment. Not only can he offer his own expertise but ensures employing quality instructors to deliver the range of certificate and tailored activities at Cumbrae.