America’s Cup: Regatta director predicts exciting times

Published on April 21st, 2015

By Colin Thompson, Sailing Correspondent, The Royal Gazette

America’s Cup regatta director Iain Murray is impressed by the Island’s clear waters and good sailing conditions, Bermuda meet Iain Murray, the regatta director for the 35th America’s Cup to be contested for on these shores in June 2017.

Mr. Murray is serving a second successive stint in the key role and has been tasked with collaborating with all of the teams as well as with Harvey Schiller, the commercial commissioner, in setting the competitive parameters for the event.

The Australian comes highly recommended for the job given his wealth of inshore and offshore sailing experience and expertise in boat design. He won a record six consecutive 18ft skiff world titles between 1977 and 1982, and in 1984 won the Etchells World Championship. However, Mr. Murray is most noted for his appearances at the America’s Cup in 1983 and 1987, racing in the old 12-Metre Class Yachts.

During the 1983 America’s Cup challenge in Newport, Rhode Island, he sailed on Syd Fischer’s Advance. Australia II went on to win the Cup to bring America’s 132 years of dominance in the event to a grinding halt. After Australia II’s historic victory, Mr Murray joined Kevin Parry’s Taskforce ’87 syndicate and co-designed and skippered their Kookaburra yachts.

Kookaburra III won the defender elimination trials against three other Australian syndicates off Fremantle, but lost to Dennis Conner and Stars & Stripes 87 in the America’s Cup Match. Mr. Murray was also on board One Australia when it sank during the 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup.

The Australian, who celebrated his 57th birthday last week, has also carved out a name for himself as a boat designer. The modern version of the 18ft skiff was designed by Mr, Murray, who also conceived the Nippa 2.65 metres dinghy for sailors at youth level.

Mr. Murray was reappointed as America’s Cup regatta director by the America’s Cup Event Authority competitor forum, then comprised of six teams, last December. He is in Bermuda for the first time since his reappointment, assisting with preparations for the America’s Cup World Series event here from October 16 – 18, and the bigger races to follow.

“It looks like a nice place to go yachting,” Mr. Murray told The Royal Gazette. “Nice breeze and beautiful, clear water.” The technological advances in boat design will make for exciting racing, which could potentially surpass the spectacular drama witnessed in San Francisco in 2013.

Mr. Murray agrees. “Leading into the last America’s Cup, there were so many major changes and collectively we learned so much about how to design, build and race these foiling multihulls,” he said.

“Now we have the chance to fine-tune and make adjustments to make it even better.
Read on for full story.

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