After leaving the Navy in 1974, he took up post as resident engineer with a Kent company - but hated it, and the wanderlust was still there. He started driving articulated lorries on both domestic and international runs, then changed to passenger coaches on similar journeys - winning the P & O Ferries Coach Driver of the Year Award along the way - before eventually being persuaded to stay home a while. He then joined the Civil Service as a driving test examiner where he stayed for almost 21 years,
based at Maidstone Driving Test Centre.
During this 'home' period, Ian rekindled his love of flying, having first started flying gliders during his recreational time in the Navy. He joined Kent Gliding Club, gained his 'wings' and completed over two hundred solo flights over southern England. It was at the club that he became friends with Richard, a fellow pilot - who just happened to have a yacht! After a couple of days out on Richard's boat, Ian was hooked on sailing and started to look for a boat of his own.
Fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it, took a hand at this point and Richard was involved in a flying accident which left him unable to sail anymore. Ian was asked if he would like to buy Richard's yacht, a Snapdragon 747 named 'Merlin II', and suddenly, Ian was afloat again, teaching himself to sail the hard way! Before long, he was chartering bareboat yachts in Turkey, Greece and the Caribbean.
Some years later, divorce and other circumstances forced him to re-think the future and the thoughts of becoming a liveaboard, sailing from place to place returned. He started the hunt for another, more suitable boat, preferably a Warrior 35, but looking at Nicholson's amongst others. After a few false starts, "Iolair II" was discovered in Southsea Marina, a viewing and trial sail arranged and a deal struck with the owner.