Rod Carr's final take

Kate Laven spoke to the highly influential outgoing RYA CEO just before he moved on to pastures new
Anyone who visited the Royal Yachting Association’s offices in Eastleigh in 2000 and then dropped in on the Hamble HQ ten years later would understand instantly the effect Rod Carr has had on the organisation over the decade. Back then, the higgledy-piggledy Victorian warren had an air of worthy amateurism about it reflecting the organisation’s culture. Today the new bespoke office complex overlooks Southampton Water, its car park filled with sponsored Volvo cars, the 150 staff are busy and mostly RYA branded and UK sailing’s control centre appears to be exactly that. When he took over as CEO, 16 years after joining the RYA as Olympic team coach for the 1984 Los Angeles Games, one of the first things Rod Carr did was to get his calculator out and work out whether they could afford brand new purpose built offices. The calculator was a trusty friend following his success three years previously in landing the first £3 million tranche of lottery cash, specifically for use in winning Olympic medals. This time too, the number crunching had a jackpot feel to it. “We already had a bit of cash and were confident about our training schemes and the income streams they generated," recalls Carr. "Our membership was rising because we were becoming more relevant to recreational boaters and standing up for their rights. Our sailors were also starting to perform on the international stage. All that gave us the confidence to move offices. It was really important to give people a proper working environment and it was an important part of changing the culture.” That process was stepped up following the McKinsey Review in 2002, a process instigated by Carr, scrutinising every aspect of its structure and operations. Another step change, especially in the definition of roles for executive staff as distinct from the armies