He's been chasing America's Cup success over the past 15 years and now Ian Stewart will look to deliver Olympic success after joining Yachting New Zealand as the new high performance director.

Stewart will be tasked with running the high performance programme, with the main aim of delivering Olympic and world championship success.

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

It's a timely appointment, with less than three years until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and under 12 months until the combined world championships in Aarhus when New Zealand sailors can qualify boats for the Olympic Games.


Stewart was most recently Oracle Team USA's operations and logistics manager in Bermuda and prior to that was Emirates 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," Stewart said. "I've spent the last 15 years 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. 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.

Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said Stewart was a standout operator with a broad skill-set that would enhance the high performance programme.

"It's really exciting to have someone of Ian's experience and knowledge come on board," Abercrombie said. "He's going to be a real asset to the team. He's very well connected to the yachting community locally and worldwide.

"It's a perfect time for Ian to come on board because it gives him time to understand and enhance our programmes ahead of next year's world championships and then the Olympics. We really feel he can build on the success of the last two Olympic cycles.

"I would really like to thank talent development manager Ian Neely who has filled the role in an interim capacity so capably over the last 10 months."

Stewart will take up the post at the end of October