De­ter­mined sailor sets sights on an Olympic medal

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Scott Morgan

Grow­ing up in Kerik­eri pro­vided yachtie Andrew Mur­doch with the per­fect stage to launch his Olympic dream.

Al­though he now lives in Mt Al­bert, the 25-year-old, who has qual­i­fied to rep­re­sent New Zealand at the games for the first time, cred­its his up­bring­ing in the sea­side town for get­ting him into the sport.

“I’ve been steer­ing a boat since I was six,” he says.

“I en­joy any­thing to do with the wa­ter.”

He just missed out on se­lec­tion for the Laser class at the Athens Olympics in 2004, but qual­i­fied ear­lier than most this time af­ter be­ing se­lected in Novem­ber.

“I came close last time around so re­ally wanted to make sure of it this time. It’s def­i­nitely good to be one of the first se­lected.”

And Mur­doch feels he has a rea­son­able chance of pick­ing up a medal af­ter plac­ing sec­ond at the world champs in Por­tu­gal last year.

“I’ve got no in­ten­tion of go­ing to Bei­jing to make up the num­bers,” he says.

But he says there are so many vari­ables in yacht­ing, there are no guar­an­tees.

Learn­ing about the other chal­lenges in­volved with yacht­ing, such as ship­ping equip­ment across the world, is an­other as­pect of the sport Mur­doch has had to come to grips with.

“It’s more work than your nor­mal nine to five job,” he says.

“The lo­gis­tics are huge, but you get to ex­pe­ri­ence things out­side sail­ing.”

Yacht­ing New Zealand coach­ing di­rec­tor Rod Davis, who is him­self an Olympic medal­list, says Mur­doch has a good chance of do­ing well at the games.

“Pre­dict­ing yacht races is like pre­dict­ing horse races. But his per­for­mances over the last 18 months have been bril­liant.”

Davis says he re­spects what Olympic ath­letes are try­ing to achieve be­cause they don’t get paid, de­spite some Sport and Re­cre­ation fund­ing and spon­sor­ship.

But the for­mer Amer­ica’s Cup skip­per says sailors like Mur­doch need to do th­ese things when they’re young.

“He wouldn’t want to look back in five years and say: ‘I wish I’d done that’.”

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Bei­jing bound:

Mt Al­bert-based yachtie Andrew Mur­doch is a medal chance at the Olympics in Au­gust.

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