Rear Admiral John Barker, known throughout the world of sailing as John Barker, sadly passed away on Saturday 27 December 2003.
John has given a lifetime to the sport of sailing, both in his naval career and on an international and national basis for the International Sailing Federation and Royal Yachting Association, and to many other maritime and nautical organisations.
John started sailing with his father in the 1930's, a path which would see him sailing International 14's, Firefly dinghies and Daring keelboats. He went to the Nautical College in Pangbourne, Great Britain where he was Captain of Sailing, and in 1948 joined the Royal Navy and sailed for the Senior Service in dinghies for over 20 years. In the 1960's he became involved with the Optimist Class and was Chairman of the National Class Association.
In 1977 he was appointed Manager of the British Youth Sailing Team and was instrumental in getting the renowned coach Jim Saltonstall out of the Royal Navy and into the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). Their joint contribution laid the foundations for the RYA's youth sailing structure during the 1970's and 1980's on which so much success has been built at the highest level.
In 1978, John joined the Youth Sailing Committee of the then International Yacht Racing Union, becoming Vice-Chairman in 1982 and Chairman in 1986. He held this key appointment, with the responsibility for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship until 1998. John was a driving force behind the development and ongoing success of the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, and despite retiring as the Committee Chairman in 1998, remained a consultant to the ISAF Youth Sailing Championship Sub-Committee.
John's list of Committee and other appointments is long and distinguished. Internationally, in addition to the ISAF Youth Sailing Committee, John was a member of the Race Management Sub-Committee from 1983 to 1987, and a trustee and secretary of the World Youth Sailing Trust
John was appointed as an ISAF International Judge in 1988, a position he held through until 2002. In recent years, John had officiated in the capacity of Jury Chairman or Jury member at the 505 World Championships, ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, Cowes Week, Contender World Championship and Cadet World Championship.
Within the RYA, John was a past member of the RYA Council, Yacht Racing, Class Associations, Racing Rules, Race Training and Portsmouth Yardstick Committees.
John was a life Rear Commodore of the Royal Naval Sailing Association and for many years was Chief Race Officer of the Royal Yacht Squadron. John had attended the Royal Yacht Squadron Christmas lunch earlier in December 2003.
In 1998, John's contribution to international sailing was honoured with the presentation of ISAF's highest award of recognition, the ISAF Gold Medal. The ISAF Gold Medal, of which John became one of only twenty-two recipients, recognises support to ISAF and contribution to the development of the Federation and the sport in a remarkable way.
In 1999 John Barker's contributions to the RYA were honoured with the presentation of the RYA Award for Distinguished Services to Yachting.
Throughout his career within the administration of the sport, John commanded the highest admiration and respect of all the sailors, officials and sailing organisations.
On behalf of the sailing world, ISAF expresses its deep condolences to John's wife, Priscilla, and their two sons, family and friends.
The funeral of Rear Admiral John Barker will take place on Wednesday 7 January 2004. A Thanksgiving Service will take place on Friday 23 January 2004.