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Iain Murray announced as AC37 Independent Regatta Director with Richard Slater as Chief Umpire
‘Both bring vast experience and a deep understanding of this particular brand of high-performance, grand-prix sailing’ says Emirates Team New Zealand CEO, Grant Dalton
Iain Murray has been appointed as Independent Regatta Director for the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona alongside Richard Slater who continues in the role as Chief Umpire, positions they both occupied for the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland.
Murray’s role will see him take charge of all aspects on the water of the 37th America’s Cup and all AC World Series Events in the lead up to the regatta’s start in September 2024.
Richard Slater, one of the architects of many of the rules governing high-performance foiling, will be a key figure making the sporting calls in real-time and co-ordinating the Umpire Team and International Jury. The role also requires Richard to continue the development of the America’s Cup edition of the Racing Rules of Sailing, including the World Sailing approval processes.
Now in his fourth America’s Cup as Regatta Director, Iain Murray’s career in the Cup stretches all the way back to 1983 where he joined the crew of the 12 Metre Advance before skippering the 1987 Australian ‘Task Force’ defence syndicate.
He was helmsman of Kookaburra II for the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle Australia and was ultimately beaten in the Match by Dennis Conner’s Stars ‘n’ Stripes ‘87 having played a lead role in the design (alongside John Swarbrick) of the technically advanced Australian defender.
Further Cup campaigns saw Murray as Chief Executive Officer and Lead Designer of Spirit of Australia in 1992 in the first generation of IACC boats before his final sailing campaign with John Bertrand’s One Australia in 1995 that famously broke in two and sank ahead of a race in the semi-finals.
Widely respected throughout the sailing world, Murray was the Australian representative in the Star Class at the 2008 Olympic Games in China and can also count two Etchells World Championships (1984 & 2019) alongside being part of no less than nine, line honours victories in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race aboard Wild Oats XI.
Having been appointed in 2010, Iain Murray’s first stint as Regatta Director was for the 34th America’s Cup in 2013 in San Francisco, before repeating the role in Bermuda at the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. At this time, he was also CEO of America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM), a neutral body tasked with logistical and sporting aspects of the America’s Cup World Series held throughout both campaigns.
Richard Slater’s involvement with the America’s Cup goes back to the Young Australia syndicate of 1999 where he acted as Rules Advisor to the team that included a young Jimmy Spithill on the helm.
Stints as a respected International Umpire and International Judge ensued across events including the World Match Race Tour, Volvo Ocean Race and as a Rules Advisor to the Australian Team at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. Richard was appointed as Chief Umpire for the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda, a role he repeated for the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland.
Speaking about the appointments, Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand commented: “I am delighted to welcome back Iain and Richard to the vital roles of Regatta Director and Chief Umpire for the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona. Both bring vast experience and a deep understanding of this particular brand of high-performance, grand-prix sailing and their knowledge will be invaluable both as the events get underway and in the lead up to the regattas. Both Iain and Richard hold almost unique status in the sport amongst the sailors as massively respected individuals, and I wish them every success in their roles.”
Talking about his new role, Iain Murray offered: “It is a huge honour to take on the role as Regatta Director for the 37th America’s Cup that is building up nicely with very competitive teams forming and the promise of too-close-to-call racing in this second generation of the AC75s. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the format unfolds with both the Youth & Women’s America’s Cup in the AC40s which are vital to the future of our sport by offering opportunity and wide fan engagement as well as being a huge marker of intent by the Defender and Challenger of Record.”
Richard Slater was also looking forward to the 37th America’s Cup saying: “To be involved in any America’s Cup is such a privilege as it’s the pinnacle of our sport but I have a feeling that this one is going to be something very special. The format and the boats promise really close action and the appeal is going to be broad. An America’s Cup in Europe is always an engaging experience and I’m looking forward to working with the event and the teams to deliver on the promise.”