Where will Sailing Take You? Interview with Nick Ironside

Hi guys ! How’re we doing? I’ve just been asked to answer some questions for Sailingfast. So, my name is Nick Ironside, and I’m a marine engineer.

Where do I currently stay?

At the moment, I currently live on board a new yacht, that I am helping commission over in Holland. I’ve been here full-time since the new year and I will be full-time on board till June. Then I actually start rotation on this job so I will be working for a certain amount of time, and then I’ll be back home in Scotland for my off time, which is something new, something  I’ve been really looking forward to getting to spend a little more time at home, rather than being stuck living on board all the time.

How did I get into sailing?

So I would say that I started sailing when I was about five years old. And that would be through my Mum and Dad really, who got into yachts. And from that, the other people they met sailing thought it would be a really good idea if I got involved with Largs Sailing Club, and the dinghy section, and that’s where on the evening sailings that’s where I first started doing my own sailing. Apart from the yacht, and that was actually straight into Toppers sort of about six /even years old. And that’s where my own sailing really started.

So from that, when was I in Topper squad?

After a good few years I then started doing club racing, which then moved on to the Scottish topper circuit. And from there, the topper squad, and I think that would have been around 2001 2002. I was actually a member of the Scottish topper squad, and my coaches from then would have been Duncan, and Roy McCubbin for those two years.

The best bit about the squads for me was definitely the people, the travelling you got to do, and also the competitiveness of the actual race weekends. It really gave you a bit of focus, other than school and hanging around, it was something that you were doing for yourself and it was a good motivator. To actually concentrate on something really helped because I wasn’t that interested in school and the sailing really helped me focus on something else.

After the Topper I went into Lasers for a few years – probably not the best move into the Laser because I wasn’t really big enough. But I really enjoyed it still, really good racing and kind of just a continuation of the Topper really.

What do I sail now?

At the moment I’m not really doing much sailing because we’re building the yacht – the only thing I’m actually sailing at the moment would be this 50 metre, new sailing yacht that I’m currently helping commission and build here in a very cold, wet and windy Holland.

Best adventure so far?

Well, for the last four years, I’ve been doing different bits and pieces of racing, more so. I spent two years with the J class and that included racing in the Caribbean, the East coast of America, and we actually attended the Americas cup in Bermuda where there was a whole bunch of J class racing, there was superyacht regattas and the cup event itself which we were watching. After the J class, I went and did offshore racing with the IMOCA fleet. And I’ve been working the last two years with Alex Thomson racing on the south coast of England. The best adventure would have to be sailing from Portugal to Canada, doing a transatlantic on the IMOCA. There’s something, something quite special about doing 30 plus knots in the pitch black.

Sailing plans for the future

As I said I’m currently on a 50metre new build. Once we’ve commissioned this build here, and we’ll be doing sail, sail testing and race training in the Mediterranean, mainly in Palma, and then the plan for this boat is to actually take it to New Zealand for the next America’s Cup. So that’s the overall goal. Obviously, we won’t be heavily involved with the cup itself this time, unlike I was last time with J class, but we will be competing in the superyacht cup down there in Auckland next year.

Anyway, I hope that gives you a bit of insight to what I do now. So thanks very much. Bye.

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