One of the major driving forces in Britain's Olympic sailing success, Carr is to leave his post as chief executive before the Weymouth Olympics

Rod Carr, one of the major driving forces in Britain’s Olympic sailing success, is to leave his post as chief executive of the Royal Yachting Association ahead of the next Olympic Games regatta in Weymouth.

He will retires in March 2010, having been at the RYA for 25 years, including 10 as CEO. He started as dinghy coach to the Olympic team for the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, when Britain earned a solitary bronze medal.

His decision to leave before London 2012 has taken the sailing community by surprise but he has established a strong structure at the RYA, and is quoted by Kate Laven in The Daily Telegraph as saying there was little more to do in his current post. In 2005, he received an OBE for his services to sailing.

It was as RYA racing manager and performance director in 1997 that Carr started to change the face of British sailing by quickly grasping the new funding strategies made available by the National Lottery three years earlier.

His understanding of how athletes could tap into the labyrinth of funding plans by meeting competition targets guaranteed a major hike in financial support allowing the RYA to invest in coaching, training and the development of their elite sailors.

A working group has been set up at the RYA’s Hamble HQ to find a replacement.