Howlett and Wilson join Coaching Hall of Fame

Dave Howlett and Rob Wilson, coaches to Britain’s two sailing gold medallists at this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, were inducted into the Coaching Hall of Fame at the UK Coaching Awards, hosted by Sports Coach UK, on Tuesday (20 Nov). Howlett, who coached Ben Ainslie to his record-breaking fourth Olympic gold and sixth Finn World Championship title this summer, was also shortlisted for the High Performance Coach of the Year award.

The black tie event, held at The Lancaster Hotel in London, saw HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of Sports Coach UK, welcoming guests and presenting awards to the winning coaches with Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and Chris Baillieu, Chair of Sports Coach UK also delivering speeches during the evening.

Howlett’s knowledge and experience has contributed to a number of British Olympic sailing medals since 1988, including the Star class at Seoul, technical input into the Europe class and towards Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson’s Beijing gold, and most recently with Ben Ainslie towards his historic fourth Olympic crown at Weymouth and Portland this summer.

Rob Wilson was also inducted into the Coaching Hall of Fame, due to his work with 2.4mR gold medal winner Helena Lucas at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and his coaching of the Extreme 40s, with both his boats holding the top two positions on the Series leaderboard with one race to go.

Wilson commented: "My money is on Sid winning Performance Coach of the Year in 2016!” before paying tribute to the team effort which was behind the success of his charge Lucas this summer.

“For me it’s a great honour to get the recognition at this prestigious event, but I’m part of wider team that all deserve huge praise. There are individuals such as Fuzz [Grant Spanhake], Ian Barker and Ben Chell that have all had a huge impact helping Helena win her medal this summer. There is also the wider support team that all help to make the events run smoothly, Libby Greenhalgh on the meteorology side, Lindsey Bell working with the press, Stephen Park’s management, Simon Hiscocks working on the boats, the physiology team (too many to mention!), the team in the RYA office, and of course North Sails who built some great sails!”

“Finally on the coaching side, I think [RYA Coaching Development Manager] Dave Mellor deserves a mention for helping to move the coaching game forward, listening carefully to the feedback of all the coaches and coming up with some innovative coaching ideas.”