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Olympics: 'Big Fella' Iain Murray new Performance Director for Australian Sailing; who will manage the Aussie AC Challenge?

Monday, September 4, 2017

SYDNEY – Highly respected and awarded sailor Iain Murray AM joins Australian Sailing as Performance Director, responsible for the Australian Sailing Team and the supporting Performance programs.Widely recognised for his achievements, Iain’s experience from the 2008 Olympic Games, multiple World and Australian Championships and consecutive 18ft Skiff titles will serve the Team well. He is a respected tactician and boat designer who, many decades after his first Australian Championship win in 1973, continues to compete, most recently at Hamilton Island Race Week.Iain has a long connection with the America’s Cup serving as Regatta Director for the 34th and 35th America’s Cup campaigns in 2013 and 2017 respectively and was CEO of America’s Cup Race Management. In the 1983 America’s Cup challenge at Newport he sailed on Syd Fischer’s Advance, and in 1987 co-designed and skippered Kookaburra in their campaign against Dennis Conner’s Stars and Stripes off Fremantle.On his announcement, Iain said, “For many years, I have been involved with sailing in Australia and it is a privilege to join with the Australian Sailing Team and the athletes in our Performance programs around the country. “There are strong foundations to build on as we head towards Tokyo 2020 and I look forward to working with the athletes, coaches and management as we collectively grow our programs for the future”, Iain said. Australian Sailing President Matt Allen said, “We are pleased to welcome Iain back to Australian Sailing, he has been involved with us over the years, both on and off the water, and it is great to have him leading our Performance program.  –Australian Sailing statement issued today (Monday) in Sydney.   


Known affectionately throughout the sport as "Big Fella," Iain's appointment begs a couple of questions. Presumably this precludes his involvement in an Australian challenge for AC36 at Auckland in 2021, which many expected he would lead or at least have a key role. And having served as the Regatta Director for AC34 (San Francisco) and AC35 (Bermuda), Iain was on record as saying he would like to continue for AC36 if the Kiwis would have him. So either the Kiwis quietly told him no, or he views this Oz opportunity a better one after the constant Cup harangue of the past almost six years. Or both. So who will be the next Regatta Director? And who will manage an Australian AC36 challenge, John Bertrand (AUS) again? Or someone new and younger?


Regardless, all of us at SAILING ILLUSTRATED, especially your Ed. who goes back with Iain to the 1983 Cup in Newport, offer hearty congratulations on this appointment, and best wishes for continuing success. 


Full statement • Richard Gladwell's nice photo essay on Iain's appointment


 Iain Murray during AC34 in San Francisco. Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA.


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