Determined sailor sets sights on an Olympic medal
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’.”
Mt Albert-based yachtie Andrew Murdoch is a medal chance at the Olympics in August.