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Festival of Sails 2017

America's Cup- Regatta Director, Iain Murray profiled

by ACRM Media and Sail-World on 19 Sep 2010
Iain Murray crosses the finish line in the 2008 Olympics in the Star class © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

Iain Murray began sailing on Middle Harbor, Sydney, as a 9-year-old in the Flying Ant class.

His greatest success came in Sydney’s iconic 18ft skiff class, in which he designed, built and sailed Color 7 to win a record six consecutive championships from 1977 to 1982. The association between Murray and Australia’s Channel 7 carries on today, 33 years later.

He preceded this with an Interdominion (Australia and New Zealand) win in the 12ft skiff class at the age of 17years, sailing a boat he designed and built himself. The following year he returned to Auckland winning the 18ft skiff Interdominion in dramatic style in the final race, after he was the only boat in the fleet to set and carry a spinnaker on the final run sailed in a 30kt easterly, with big seas and the wind against the tide.

They pulled seven minutes out of the series leader (Dave Porter sailing KB) on that final run, got two boats between them and Porter at the finish, and took the prestigious title at the age of 18 years, again in a boat that he designed and built.


The success in the 18’ skiffs led Syd Fischer, Australia’s most regular and least successful challenger for the America’s Cup to select him as helmsman of his 1983 challenger Advance.

Murray joined with Kevin Parry’s Kookaburra syndicate for Australia’s defense of the Cup in 1987. Kookaburra earned the right to defend the Cup after a cantankerous defense series, but was vanquished in the 26th Cup Match by Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes.

That series off Perth, Western Australia, is widely regarded as the one of the best America’s Cup regattas due to its openness and fantastic sailing conditions.

Murray also led the Spirit of Australia Challenge for the 1992 Challenger Series, which failed to advance out of round robin racing.


Murray has enjoyed a tremendous career as an offshore sailor, winning many of the world’s classic events. He’s logged 17 Sydney-Hobart Races, including two overall victories and four line honors wins. He also was on the winning Australian team at the last Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup, and took down Paul Cayard to win the 1988 match racing world championship.

As a one-design sailor, Murray ranks his Etchells World Championship in 1984 as one of his most satisfying victories. He also placed third at the 2005 Etchells Worlds.

In 2008 Murray competed in the Olympic Regatta at the age of 50 when he represented Australia in the Star Class.


Besides an illustrious racing career, Murray has achieved great success as a real estate developer and businessman. His company, Murlan, is a multi-disciplined property development firm that has undertaken a number of unique and diverse projects over the years.

In recognition for his achievements and meritorious service to sport and community, Murray was presented in 1992 the Order of Australia, AM, an order of chivalry established by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, in 1975.

Murray has contributed design input for the public sector on projects such as child care, retirement and marine rescue centers. His real estate development company manages several enterprises in Sydney.

He also consulted with noted Australian architect Wayne Barda on the design of the spectacular Hamilton Island Yacht Club.


Beyond the sailing accolades and business success, Murray says his greatest achievement is his close-knit family: 'Watching my children laugh gives me the greatest pleasure in life.'

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