Ken RYAN, ISAF Vice-President from 1998-2004 and the 2006 recipient of the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, has been inducted into the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) Hall of Fame.
Ken RYAN (IRL) was involved in many classes in Ireland before eventually finding his true love - the International Race Official scene.
Ken's first taste of sailing was in Mermaids and he sailed for years in 'Endeavor'. Later he moved on to sail with his brother-in-law in 'Geraldine', their 21 Footer. Ken was also one of a small group who introduced Ruffians to Dublin Bay and he enjoyed many years sailing the class.
1968 saw his first involvement in international sailing when he worked with the International Finn class as they prepared for their 1970 Europeans in Dun Laoghaire. Following on from the success of that event (21 countries were represented across the 34 boat fleet), Ken was invited to travel to Cascais, Portugal for the Finn Gold Cup. Ken assisted in the event management of that regatta where 180 boats from 34 countries competed.
Ken's relationship with the International Finn class continued and while attending the 1971 Gold Cup in Toronto, Canada he was persuaded to take on the role of Secretary General, a position he held for five years. It was during this period that Ken developed a race management manual, which was later the basis for the development for the Irish Race Management Manual.
In 1971, during a trip to Canada, Ken saw his first Laser. Designed in 1969, by Canadian's Bruce KIRBY and Ian BRUCE, Ken was struck by the speed at which this new one design dinghy was accepted by the yachting world. In conjunction with the IDA, Ken negotiated a financial package, which saw the opening of a Laser manufacturing plant in Waterford. As Irish Director, Ken was delighted that Irish Lasers were exported all around the world as demand for Lasers increased.
The 1970s were a busy time for Ken. In 1974 he introduced the 470 class to Ireland when he was appointed Team Manager for the 1976 Olympic Games (Montreal, Canada). Through a sponsorship programme that funded the purchase of six new 470 dinghies he spent the summer travelling around the country holding trial regattas in the new dinghies. At the 1976 Olympic Games Robert and Peter DIX competed in the 470 class, a class that Ireland still campaigns in today.
A member of the ISA Racing Rules Committee from 1974-1994, Ken was in 1978 appointed to the ISAF Racing Rules Committee, holding the Vice-Chair from 1990-1994.
In the late 1970s there were no International Juries, just Protest Committees and with the Moscow Olympic Games (1980) approaching sailing was the only sport that did not have international judges or referees, a situation that need to be immediately addressed.
Ken as Vice-Chairman of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee was charged with the development of an International Judges Programme to select and certify international judges in time for the Moscow Games, the year in which David WILKINS and Jamie WILKINSON (IRL) won a silver medal in the Flying Dutchman class.
Ken's initial responsibility for Judges, expanded to Umpires, Measurers and Race Officers and at the time of his retirement from ISAF there were over a thousand certified Race Officials.
From 1998 to 2004 Ken held the post of an ISAF Vice-President. Although his main focus during his 36 years as an international volunteer was the ISAF Race Officials Programme, he was also active in many other areas including Chairman of the International Judges Sub-Committee, from 1980 through until 1996.
Ken has travelled all over the world ensuring the integrity of the sport. He has officiated at two America's Cups (in 1983 as a Jury Member when Australia triumphed over USA and in 1987 as Jury Chairman when the USA / Dennis Connors reclaimed the Cup), Olympic Games, Olympic Class World Championships, offshore events and a myriad of other major Championships.
In all Ken has attended nine Olympic Games in one capacity or another. From his first Games in 1972 as a member of the Irish team, he has attend every Olympics since, initially as chef de mission and more recently as an ISAF Judge and Olympic Jury Member.
Ken has been recognised for his contribution to the sport in the past.
He is an honorary member of the National Yacht Club, his home club, the Royal St George Yacht Club and the Royal Irish Yacht Club.
During his voluntary career Ken was also Secretary General of the Olympic Council of Ireland, a role he held for 17 years. In 1981 he received the Olympic Order Award in recognition of his contribution to Olympic Sport.
In 2006 Ken Ryan was a worthy winner of the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy - presented to an individual who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. The roll of honour is an impressive one, including multiple Olympic medallists, rules gurus and designers, all of whom, like Ken have dedicated an outstanding amount of time to the sport of sailing.
The ISA Hall of Fame is an award presented to an ISA member who has made a significant contribution to the sport of sailing during their lifetime.
The ISA is delighted to take this opportunity to induct Ken Ryan into the ISA Hall of Fame.
Irish Sailing Association - www.sailing.ie
ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy - www.sailing.org/beppecroce.php