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Olympic and America's Cup legends among Australian Sailing Hall of Fame 2023 class

by Australian Sailing 2 Nov 2023 18:14 PDT
Iain Murray and the Cup in 2017 © Gilles Martin-Raget

Four Australian sailing legends are set receive the sport's highest accolade, with Iain Murray AM, Tom Slingsby OAM and the team of Elise Rechichi OAM and Tessa Parkinson OAM to be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame at a gala dinner in Sydney tonight.

Together the group boasts countless medals, world championships and international accolades across myriad classes.

"The 2023 inductees to the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame each represent the best of our sport. Iain, Elise, Tessa and Tom have all earned the right to be described as legends of our sport," said Australian Sailing President, Alistair Murray AM.

"They represent a great cross-section of sailing, with each having overcome their own obstacles to become the best in the world at what they do."

The Australian Sailing Hall of Fame acknowledges exceptional performance and contribution at the highest level by an individual or a team, both past and present. The Award includes all sailing categories and positions that contribute to the sport - including coaches and designers.

Ms Daryl Karp AM, Director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum welcomed this announcement by noting, "Australia's relationship with the sea is deep, we have a long and honoured history with sailing and it is important that we continue to recognise those Australians who have helped shape sailing in this country both as a sport and as a pastime. These legends join previous inductees as icons of Australian sailing."

The inductions will take place at the Australian National Maritime Museum tonight, you can see a list of all previous Hall of Fame inductees here.

Iain Murray AM

Iain Murray's name is one that is synonymous with the sport of sailing in Australia. His journey through the maritime world began at a young age, marked by unparalleled dedication and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

The yacht-designer, boatbuilder, offshore sailor, Olympic competitor, Olympic coach, and multiple 18ft-skiff world champion has dedicated his life to the sport.

As a sailor, he won six consecutive World Championships in the 18-foot skiff class from 1977 to 1982 before moving on to sailing in four America's Cup campaigns including as project director/design team and helmsman for Kevin Parry's Kookaburra Syndicate for the 1987 America's Cup defence.

He was recognised as the Australian Yachtsmen of the Year in 1984. In the same year he won the World Etchells championship, a title he won again an amazing 35 years later in Corpus Christi, Texas.

His long-standing involvement with the Sydney to Hobart yacht race includes 27 races, 9 line honours and three overall victories to date along with race records.

He won an Admiral's Cup in 2003, represented Australia in the Star class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was the Campaign Director for the Australian Olympic Sailing Team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and in 2023 inductee into the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

Murray has stayed heavily involved as an official, serving as Regatta Director Regatta Director of the America's Cup in 2013, 2017 and 2021, and will hold the role at the 2024 America's Cup in Barcelona.

He has also been the Regatta Director for SailGP since its inception in 2018.

Tom Slingsby OAM

A true sailing legend, Tom Slingsby's extraordinary achievements have made him an inspiration to aspiring sailors worldwide.

Olympic Champion and multiple World Champion, Tom is widely acknowledged as one of the best sailors of his generation. His cross-class mastery has been celebrated globally and has seen him named World Sailor of the Year on two occasions, more than any other Australian.

Between 2005 and 2012 Tom dominated the Laser class. He won two World Championships leading in to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where the heavier Slingsby finished 22nd in a light-wind regatta.

He then won three consecutive Laser world championships before going on to win Olympic Gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Tom then went on to join the winning Oracle Team USA as a strategist for the 2013 America's Cup, sailed with the team in their 2017 defense and will sail with the New York Yacht Club's Challenger American Magic in 2024.

Proving his versatility, in 2016 Slingsby skippered the supermaxi Perpetual Loyal to line honours victory in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and in 2021 helmed Comanche to line honours and a race record in the Middle Sea Race.

Tom has collected World Championships across multiple classes over the years, with his relentless pursuit of excellence earning him titles in the Etchells, Devoti One and Moth classes.

For his efforts, Tom was named World Sailing Male Sailor of the Year in 2010 and 2021, Australian Sailing Male Sailor of the Year a record five times, and the Australian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year in 2012.

More recently as the skipper and CEO of the Australia SailGP Team, he has led his crew to victory in each of the first three seasons.

Elise Rechichi OAM and Tessa Parkinson OAM

Elise Rechichi OAM and Tessa Parkinson OAM set the seas ablaze with their Olympic gold medal winning partnership. Together they rewrote the record books with their outstanding achievements which included their extraordinary gold medal in the 470 class at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Both born and raised in Western Australia, both were outstanding junior sailors before linking up as a team in 2004.

The chemistry was almost immediate, with Elise and Tessa taking out the 420 Youth Sailing World Championship and Open World Championship titles.

In 2005 they came under the tutelage of legendary 470 coach, Victor Kovalenko and not long after finished 10th at their first open 470 World Championship.

The pair were named Young Australian Team of the Year at the Australian Sport Awards for their efforts.

Elise became ill after swallowing a mouthful of polluted seawater at the 2006 Olympic Test Event, but at their first major regatta back in 2007 they won Bronze at the European Championships in Greece before winning the Olympic Test Event in August.

There were another pair of bronze medals at the 2008 European and World Championships before it was on to the Beijing Olympics.

In a display of flawless execution, unwavering teamwork and unrelenting spirit, the pair had only one result outside the top five in the qualifying series which ensured they had secured the Gold before the final double-points race.

They were further rewarded for their performance when they were named winners of the Australian Sailing Female Sailor of the Year Award in 2008.

They are an inspiration to aspiring sailors, particularly young women, who aspire to conquer the waves and reach the pinnacle of success.

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