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2023 Inductees to the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame announced

Australian National Maritime Museum/Australian Sailing 7 mins read

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, and covers all disciplines of sailing, including those in supporting roles such as coaches and designers.

Australian Sailing has developed this important initiative in partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The Hall of Fame is the highest recognition in the sport and the inductees in 2023 are: Ian Murray AM, Elise Rechichi OAM and Tessa Parkinson OAM, and Tom Slingsby OAM.

 

‘The 2023 inductees to the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame each represent the best of our sport,’ said Australian Sailing President Alistair Murray AM.

‘Iain, Elise, Tessa and Tom have all earned the right to be described as legends of our sport. 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.’

Ms Daryl Karp AM, Director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum said, ‘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.’

 

A person in a vest smilingDescription automatically generatedIain Murray AM

 

“Designer, boatbuilder, champion offshore sailor, Olympic competitor and coach and multiple 18ft-skiff world champion, Iain Murray has dedicated his life to the sport - and success.”
Selection panel

Iain Murray's name 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.

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

At the age of nine, Iain started sailing in the Flying Ant class. His first major event win followed not long after, when he won the 1973 Australian Cherub Championships in a boat he had designed and built himself at the age of 12.

Iain has secured numerous titles and honours throughout his illustrious career, including six consecutive World Championships in the 18-foot skiff class from 1977 to 1982 and prestigious trophies such as the Admiral's Cup and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Over the course of his career, he has also had a long involvement with the America’s Cup. 

In the 1983 America’s Cup challenge at Newport he sailed on Syd Fischer’s Advance team. He then went on to become project director/design team and helmsman for Kevin Parry’s Kookaburra Syndicate for the 1987 America’s Cup defense.

He was the lead designer of Spirit of Australia in 1992 before his final sailing campaign with John Bertrand’s OneAustralia at the 1995 challenger trials.

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 also won one as a designer, builder and skipper of Bumblebee 5 in 2001.

As a boat designer, Murray developed the Nippa dinghy for children, and also in partnership with Ian Burns and Andy Dovell, designed the Murray 41, the Sydney 36, 38 and 46 and the Magic 25.

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.

Beyond his personal accomplishments, Iain has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of sailing. His visionary leadership and innovation have left an indelible mark on the sport.

 

Elise Rechichi OAM & Tessa Parkinson OAM

A couple of people holding flowers and a flagDescription automatically generated"Two women who had to overcome major obstacles to reach the zenith of their sport - an extraordinary gold medal in the 470 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”

Selection panel

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 47O class at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 – the only Australian women’s team to achieve this feat.

Both born and raised in Western Australia, Elise began sailing at the Royal Perth Yacht Club at the age of seven and Tessa a year later at the Fremantle Sailing Club.

Rechichi went on to win silver at the 2002 Youth Sailing World Championships in the 29er skiff and gold a year later in the 420 class.

But it was their pairing in 2004 that would go on to change sailing history.

The chemistry was almost immediate, with Elise and Tessa taking out the 420 Youth Sailing World Championship and Open World Championship titles - the latter on Rechichi's 18th birthday.

In 2005 they linked with 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.

At the 2006 Olympic test event in Qingdao, China, Rechichi slipped on a launching ramp, fell and came up with a mouth full of polluted sea water. Rechichi became so ill that she was forced to withdraw from the event. The lightly framed, former gymnast lost 10kg and became so seriously ill that her family feared for her life. Even with the best medical intervention, it took more than six months before she was free of her debilitating illness.

As Rechichi recovered throughout 2007, the team started showing signs that they would be one of the teams to beat in Beijing.

In their first major regatta back, they won Bronze at the European Championships in Greece, before winning the Olympic Test Event in August.

2008 was to be an unforgettable year for the team.

After a pair of bronze medals at the European and World Championships 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.

What sets Elise and Tessa apart is not only their individual prowess but also their exceptional teamwork.

Sailing is a sport that demands harmony and synergy between crew members and this duo exemplified that to perfection.

Additionally, Elise and Tessa’s achievements extend beyond the competitive arena.

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

 

Tom Slingsby OAM

“Regarded as one of the world sailing’s greats. A multiple world sailor of the year and cross class master with Olympic and world titles and success in great regattas including the America’s Cup.”
                                                                                    Selection panel

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.

Tom grew up in Koolewong, New South Wales, and started sailing at the Gosford Sailing Club at the age of five.

He was inspired to pursue a career on the water after watching the Sydney 2000 sailors on his iconic home harbour.

“The thing that made me want to sail was sitting on the rocks at the Olympics - I went down every day for two weeks to watch the sailing. I used to sit on Bradley’s Head for five or six hours and just watch the sailors come right in, tacking close to the rocks and I remember that was the sign that was what I really wanted to do,” said Slingsby.

After finishing 61st at his first Radial Nationals, he spent the next year training, winning on his next attempt.

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.

The disappointment of that result drove Tom to new levels for his London 2012 campaign.

He won three consecutive Laser world championships before his Games win off Weymouth.

At the Olympics, the world number one placed first in four of the opening 10 races and finished second in three others.

Following his Olympic success, Tom joined Oracle Team USA as a strategist in 2013, helping mount one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sport when they came from 8-1 down to win the 34th America’s Cup 9-8.

He also 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, Tom has become a driving force in the exhilarating world of SailGP.

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

 

 

ENDS

 

For more information on these and previous inductees please visit: www.sailinghalloffame.org.au

 

Images of the inductees can be found here - Media Images

 

For further information, interviews please contact

Michael Martin                                                                       Steve Riethoff
Head of Commercial & Communications                           Head of Communication
Australian Sailing                                                                    Australian National Maritime Museum
E:
michael.martin@sailing.org.au                                            E: steve.riethoff@sea.museum                     
M: 0414 823 820                                                                    M: 0417 047 837         

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