22 Sep 2017

America's Cup veteran joins Yachting NZ

2:16 pm on 22 September 2017

After 15 years involvement in America's Cup campaign's Ian Stewart is to take up the role of high performance manager with Yachting New Zealand.

He replaces Jez Fanstone, left last year after eight successful years highlighted by last year's Rio Olympics when New Zealand sailors won a record-equalling four medals.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke compete in the Rio Olympic test event.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke helped New Zealand to its record equalling medal haul in Rio. Photo: Photosport

Stewart was most recently Oracle Team USA's operations and logistics manager in Bermuda and prior to that was Team New Zealand's logistics manager from 2003-15.

Stewart also fashioned a successful CV as a sailor, and was a sailing member of Tag Heuer's 1995 America's Cup campaign, helmed during two round the world yacht races on board Merit Cup in 1997-98 and Tokio in 1993-95 and competed for New Zealand at the youth world championships.

"I'm passionate about sailing because it has been my whole life," said Stewart.

"I've spent the last 15 facilitating teams so they operate to their full capacity in a high performance environment. This role is a different angle but it's a natural fit and progression for me.

"It's exciting because New Zealand yachting is in a great place with so much talent and there will be heightened interest with the America's Cup," he said.

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart Photo: Supplied

"I have a clear brief and will be measured on success, there's no bones about that. I don't have a magic wand or ride a white horse. To me, it's a facilitating role supporting and developing our sailors to be their best whether they're brand new to the programme or on top of the world."

Stewart said it would be natural to align more closely with the America's Cup on aspects like technology but also because many Olympic sailors are now heavily involved.

Four sailors from Yachting New Zealand's high performance programme - Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Josh Junior and Andy Maloney - were key members of Emirates Team New Zealand's sailing team in Bermuda.

Stewart will take up the role at the end of October.