18ft Skiffs: Murray Magic back for the Ferry Patrons Trophy race
by Frank Quealey on 8 Mar 2013
3 March 2013
The 'Murray Magic' was evident again last Sunday when the legendary 18ft Skiff champion Iain Murray took the tiller of the reigning Giltinan champion Gotta Love It 7 on Sydney Harbour.
Iain, who is Team Principal for the Gotta Love It 7 18ft Skiff as well as CEO of ACRM and Regatta Director AC34, was competing in the Australian 18 Footers League's Ferry Patrons Trophy race and quickly exhibited the skill which made him undefeated world 18ft Skiff champion with six consecutive Giltinan titles from 1977-1982, inclusive.
Had the race been staged over an around-the-buoys course, rather than the 3-buoys handicap course, Murray, Scott Babbage and Peter Harris would almost surely had a strong winning chance.
After winning the start from another Giltinan champion (5 times) Trevor Barnabas in Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Murray and the '7' team quickly established a lead of more than 30s on the windward leg to the 3-buoys rounding marks off Shark Island.
Another Giltinan legend, John "Woody" Winning was also in the race with his Yandoo skiff (see the three legends in Nicola South's photo).
It was a performance that reminded long-time 18ft Skiff followers of the 'Murray Magic' in those days when he dominated in another Network Seven-sponsored boat – Color 7.
Since retiring from the 18s in 1982, Iain has only previously had two races in an 18ft Skiff.
"I sailed one race of the worlds in Auckland on Nick Scali when Tony Scali was sick in 1983".
He also had one race on Sydney Harbour in the 1990s when the Color 7 crew came together again for a Legends Race.
Iain doesn't like the 3-buoys format but still enjoyed his day back on the harbour.
"It was a privilege for me to sail with Scott and Peter as they dragged me around the course".
"I was excited, tired and relieved to have made it around the course".
"Next time some preparation will happen".
All 18ft Skiff supporters hope that "next time" will happen sooner than later.