Who We Are

Ark Sailing is owned and run by Ian Shirra and Matt Nield.

Ian (that’s me) has been sailing and teaching sailing for 32 years (I started young!) Starting in dinghies, both teaching and racing, I then added Keel Boats and Windsurfers to my teaching and racing list. After a solid grounding in Outdoor Ed. In Scotland I moved to Greece (to thaw out) and ran a sailing and windsurfing centre for a holiday company. I then moved to a big Multi activity Centre near Manchester where I worked for 17 years as Principal, before moving to Windermere and opening Ark Sailing with Matt. I am a Royal Yachting Association Coach / Assessor which means that I can teach basic sailing like level 1 + 2 courses up to aspiring Instructors and Senior Instructors. Quite a range and its all good fun! Other things I do: I have been a sighted member of the British Blind Sailing Team, racing keel boats, for the last 15 years competing all round the world in the last 6 World Championships, winning 4 Gold and 2 Silver medals for Britain. And sailing in some fantastic places! You could say I like sailing…

Matt brings all the local knowledge to Ark Sailing. He has spent his life on or in the lake and now lives above it in the beautiful Boat house called The Ark (hence the name Ark Sailing) Sailing and racing on Windermere quite often with his brother James, who is a Professional Boat Builder and Repairer in Windermere, and one of our instructors (very handy if we need any repairs!) Matt has sailed every inch of the 10 miles of Lake Windermere. When he is not teaching his passion is racing the Classic Windermere 17’s. Beautiful boats to see out sailing and even nicer to be sailing in. Matt and James are both qualified Royal Yachting Association Instructors

James (Matt’s big brother) is one of the top sailors and racers on the Lake, regularly winning races in the Winter series(if not the whole thing) and winning 211 helm for the last two years in the annual Beneteau Cup held on Windermere. Appart from instructing on some of the RYA courses, James will be involved more with the race training side of the school. Wheather it’s in one of our boats, or you have your own boat and want to get the best out of it, you can be assured of great advice and top coaching from James.