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My Life In A Blue Suit

by Jim Saltonstall

Book: £12.99 BUY BOOK
Published:3rd March 2023
Type:Paperback & E-Book
Series:Making Waves


At five out of the last six Olympic Games team GBR has been the top nation in sailing, a result of strong leadership from the Royal Yachting Association and very talented sailors and coaches. But Barry Pickthall, formerly the Yachting Correspondent of The Times observes: “If one man deserves recognition for Britain’s remarkable success within the sailing Olympic arena, it is Jim Saltonstall – the coach who has cajoled, encouraged and inspired so many youngsters towards world stardom over the past 3 decades.” 

This is the story of Jim Saltonstall and his contribution to the success of British sailing. It starts in his home county of Yorkshire and the seaside town of Bridlington where he learnt to sail. It goes through his experiences in the Royal Navy, which he joined aged 15, with tours all around the world but, particularly, sailing with the Royal Navy team and becoming the Royal Navy Sailing Coach.  

This led to his appointment as the first RYA National Yacht Racing Coach, the development of the GBR Race Training Scheme and, in due course, great success at youth, world and Olympic levels. The 24 Olympic medals won by the 14 sailors who give glowing praise to Jim in the Foreword confirms his contribution to this success. 

Jim retired from his Team GBR role in 2000, after the Sydney Olympics, but it is a testimony to him that two of the gold medallists from Tokyo 2020 (which took place in 2021 – in elite sports a lifetime since Jim retired) credit him in their success, saying he was ‘a huge inspiration’ and ‘couldn’t help be motivated’ by him. 

The story is told as modestly as a Yorkshireman can, and is interspaced with tales of cars, car journeys and one or two parties! 

Jim also takes time out of the story to give his thoughts on all aspects of youth training, competing internationally and coaching. Anyone involved in race training will benefit from the wisdom he provides in these pieces. 


“His remarkable freewheeling autobiography… Jim describes a life well lived and work well done, dispensing encouragement and inspiring youngsters to chase their dreams. Any parent or budding Olympic sailor could do no better than keep this volume to hand.” (SailWeb)


“Jim inspired generations of World Champions and Olympic medallists. He gave youngsters the belief that they could win, then provided the platform to create the skill sets to get the job done. There are a handful of people who deserve immense credit for the success of British sailing in the last 40 years and Jim is without doubt one of them.” Sir Ben Ainslie

“Jim was ahead of his time in bringing together the best youth talent and giving them a structured approach in order to develop their sailing skills. His real skill was not what he coached, but it was making them feel that they belonged to something special, making them proud to represent Great Britain and in time helping us all believe we could win.” Ian Walker

“Jim is a one of the standout coaches and mentors that deserves great credit for the influence he has had over Britain’s success in sailing. His enthusiasm, knowledge and tremendous sense of humour inspired so many young sailors to great things. He was immensely proud of his ‘ferrets’ and always had time for each and every one of us.” Paul Goodison

Illustrations:28 Photographs
Dimensions:198 x 129mm