SAN DIEGO — Two months after helping run the most successful America's Cup ever, Iain Murray has been hired to head Team Australia's challenge for the 35th edition of sailing's marquee regatta.
Murray was regatta director of the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco in September, which ended with Oracle Team USA rallying to beat Emirates Team New Zealand in one of the greatest comebacks in sports.
Australian mogul Bob Oatley, who owns the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, said Murray was the only man for the job.
"Iain knows what it takes to win an America's Cup, having competed in three Cups over the years," Oatley said in a statement.
"We've had the great pleasure of being able to work closely with him over the last three decades, and have found him to be a consummate professional and also now a dear friend."
Murray will head the first Australian challenge in more than a decade.
"I have long been an avid supporter and ally of Bob Oatley," Murray said.
"When I received the invitation to lead Australia back into the America's Cup for the first time since 2000 on behalf of their Hamilton Island Yacht Club, there was only ever going to be one answer."
Hamilton Island Yacht Club is the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup, meaning it will help negotiate with Oracle Team USA and the Golden Gate Yacht Club to decide the rules and other details for the next regatta.
Software billionaire Larry Ellison, who owns Oracle Team USA, has yet to decide if the America's Cup will return to San Francisco, although his syndicate is in talks with the city. The venue must be picked before other key decisions are made, such as the year, the kind of boat and the format. It's believed that officials are looking to sail the regatta in 2017.
Murray said Hamilton Island Yacht Club has had "positive preliminary discussions" with Russell Coutts, the CEO of Oracle Team USA and a five-time America's Cup winner.
Murray has had a diverse sailing career, including sailing aboard Oatley's boats in various regattas.
Murray competed in three America's Cups. He was the losing skipper in 1987, when Dennis Conner's Liberty swept Kookaburra III to regain the America's Cup for the United States after losing it to Australia four years earlier.
Murray was aboard oneAustralia when it broke in two and sank during the challenger trials in 1995 off San Diego.
Hamilton Island is located off Australia's Queensland coast, at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
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