Richard Dixon was born in Australia, where his father was a well-known railway engineer, and came to England as a child. He was educated at Harrow and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1885. He retired from the Army in 1897 but rejoined the Colours for the First World War. Dixon started yacht racing in 1895 and in a career lasting more than 50 years he won over 1000 races, plus an Olympic gold medal in 1908 as a crew member of Charles Rivett-Carnac’s Heroine that won the 7-metre class unopposed. A member of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club and all the other Solent clubs, he made a notable contribution to the development of the sport as a founder member of the Yacht Racing Association, serving on the council from 1900 to 1938, and also as a member of the original committee of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.