America’s Cup speakers will address sail conference

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The sailing industry and the America’s Cup can work together to increase the presence of sailing throughout the world.

That’s what organizers of Sail America’s 2012 Industry Conference hope to explore with two renowned speakers who will update attendees on the America’s Cup.

Iain Murray, America’s Cup regatta director and CEO of Race Management, and Bob Billingham, San Francisco event infrastructure manager, will open the 2012 Industry Conference with an America’s Cup update and a discussion about how the America’s Cup and the sailing industry can work together to grow the sailing market and help the America’s Cup reach a broader audience.

Conference organizers “were really praying for” Murray and Billingham, said Scot West, U.S. general manager at Ronstan International Inc.

West, who helped organize seminars, said both are engaging speakers.

“They’re going to talk to us about the business of sailing and how America’s Cup can affect that,” West told Soundings Trade Only.

“They’ll be kicking things off, which is nice, because we chose Newport for a reason,” Sail magazine publisher Josh Adams said

The Sail America conference will take place Monday through Wednesday and it coincides with the America’s Cup World Series event.

Murray holds the dual role of regatta director and CEO of America's Cup Race Management, a neutral, independent body that is tasked with all of the sporting and logistical aspects of the America’s Cup World Series and the 34th America’s Cup.

Murray has been a pillar of America’s Cup syndicates from 1983 to 1995. He was the helmsman of Syd Fisher’s 1983 challenger Advance and joined Kevin Parry’s

Kookaburra syndicate for Australia’s defense of the Cup in 1987. Murray also led the Spirit of Australia challenge for the 1992 Challenger Series.

Murray has enjoyed a tremendous career as an offshore sailor, winning many of the world’s classic events. He participated in 17 Sydney-Hobart Races, achieving two overall victories and four line-honors wins. As a one-design sailor, Murray won the

Etchell’s world championship in 1984 and placed third at the 2005 Etchell’s Worlds. At the 2008 Olympic Games, Murray represented Australia in the Star class at the age of 50.

Billingham works for America’s Cup Race Management in San Francisco, preparing facilities that will host the America’s Cup racing in 2012 and 2013.

Billingham has an accomplished sailing track record, including winning a silver medal with John Kostecki in the Soling Class at the 1988 Olympic Games in Korea and being a member of Bill Koch’s winning America3 campaign in the 1992 America’s Cup. He is a five-time world champion in Solings, Etchells, J-24’s, and Maxi’s.

Billingham has served on the management side of the U.S. Olympic team for 20 years and was chief operating officer for Paul Cayard at AmericaOne in the 2000 America’s Cup in Auckland and Artemis Racing for AC34.

The session will take place from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina in Newport, R.I. The seminar is open to all conference attendees.

Click here to sign up.

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