Murray to head Australian America’s Cup syndicate
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Iain Murray, the man in charge of this year’s America’s Cup in San Francisco, has been chosen to lead Australia’s challenge in the next edition of sailing’s most prestigious trophy.
The 55-year-old Australian was on Thursday named chief executive of Hamilton Island Yacht Club’s Team Australia, which is the challenger of record so it represents all challengers in dealings with the defending team Oracle Team USA of the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco.
Murray was chief executive and regatta director of the America’s Cup sailed on San Francisco Bay which ended in September.
As challenger of record, Team Australia and Murray, who competed in three America’s Cup races in 1983, 1987 and 1992, will help determine the rules, venue and boats used in the next race.
Australian mogul Bob Oatley, who owns the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, said Murray was the only man for the job.
“Iain knows what it takes to win an America’s Cup, having competed in three Cups over the years,” Oatley said in a statement.
“We’ve had the great pleasure of being able to work closely with him over the last three decades, and have found him to be a consummate professional and also now a dear friend.”
Murray will head the first Australian challenge in more than a decade.
“I have long been an avid supporter and ally of Bob Oatley,” Murray said.
“When I received the invitation to lead Australia back into the America’s Cup for the first time since 2000 on behalf of their Hamilton Island Yacht Club, there was only ever going to be one answer.”
Software billionaire Larry Ellison, who owns Oracle Team USA, has yet to decide if the America’s Cup will return to San Francisco, although his syndicate is in talks with the city. The venue must be picked before other key decisions are made, such as the year, the kind of boat and the format. It’s believed that officials are looking to sail the regatta in 2017.
Murray competed in three America’s Cups. He was the losing skipper in 1987, when Dennis Conner’s Liberty swept Kookaburra III to regain the America’s Cup for the United States after losing it to Australia four years earlier.
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