- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2020

Noted Australian yachtsman Iain Murray is taking over as the independent regatta director for the 36th America’s Cup scheduled for next year in Auckland, New Zealand.

Murray was jointly appointed by defender Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record to replace John Craig, who stepped down late last year.

“It is very gratifying for us to have secured the services of such a respected official as Iain as he brings a wealth of experience and integrity to the role of regatta director with a proven track record over the past two America’s Cup cycles,” Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said in a statement.

Matteo Plazzi, technical director of the Challenger of Record, cited Murray’s “deep knowledge, competence and understanding of yachting and racing. The experience as regatta director he has developed in two ‘foiling’ America’s Cup cycles and the fairness he demonstrated during those years will be a prominent asset of paramount importance for conducting the racing with this unprecedented class of yachts.”

The 36th America’s Cup will mark the debut of radical foiling 75-foot monohulls.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials canceled America’s Cup World Series regattas set for Italy last weekend and Portsmouth, England, in early June.

The final ACWS regatta is scheduled for Auckland from Dec. 17-20. The Prada Cup for challengers is set for Jan. 15-Feb. 22, with the winner advancing to face Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup match March 6-21.

Murray, 62, is familiar with Auckland’s Waitemata Harbor, where he made his first marks on the international sailing scene with two notable wins as a teenager in the mid-1970s.

Murray has a long history as skipper, yacht designer and regatta official, including participating in four America’s Cup campaigns. He was the losing skipper in 1987, when Dennis Conner sailed Stars & Stripes to a four-race sweep of Kookaburra III off Fremantle, Australia, to reclaim the trophy he had lost four years earlier. Murray was aboard oneAustralia when it snapped in half and sank off San Diego during the 1995 challenger trials, forcing the crew to abandon ship.

Murray represented Australia in the venerable Star class in the 2008 Olympics and won the Etchells world championships in 1984 and 2019.

He is also an experienced offshore competitor and designer. He has been part of the Wild Oats XI campaign since its launch in 2005, winning line honors nine times in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

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