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America's Cup- Team Australia to stay out of talent bidding war

by Sail-World on 12 Dec 2013
Top Australian sailing talent - Malcolm Page, Victor Kovalenko and Matt Belcher - London 2012 Olympic Sailing. Sail-World.com © http://www.sail-world.com

In an interview published in a leading Australian newspaper, the CEO of of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club challenge, which is operating under the name of Team Australia, has said they will stay out of the bidding war for the leading Australian proponents of the most recent foreign Cup campaigns and will build a new young team from scratch.

Iain Murray was formerly a leading 12 and 18ft skiff, and Olympic skipper. He is still very active in yacht design and racing. He was the Regatta Director for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco.

Murray, appointed last month to lead the Oatley family's challenge, is confident that Australia has enough elite sailing talent to go around, despite the loss of key figures to foreign America's Cup teams already.

Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby has re-signed with Oracle Team USA after serving as strategist for its winning campaign this year, while fellow Olympic medallist Glenn Ashby has committed to Team New Zealand, and Murray rated the chances of luring Australia's winning skipper Jimmy Spithill away from Oracle as 'slim'.

But he noted that Spithill was 19 when he made his America's Cup debut and therefore the next such talent was 'a kid of 15' at the moment.

'We are going to let a lot of that go past us,' he said of the rush to sign America's Cup stars. 'There's a lot of kids who haven't had that opportunity that we want to give that opportunity to. With the right coaching we think they can do just as good a job.'

The most successful one is on Wild Oats today (Olympic 470 gold medallist Mat Belcher sailed on the Sydney-Hobart favourite in this week's Big Boat Challenge).

Murray, a former America's Cup skipper and 2008 Olympian, expects the highly successful Australian Olympic sailing team to figure prominently in the final crew that will represent the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

For the full interview click here
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