As a native New Zealander, Murray Owen arrived on Australia’s shores in 1996 as a pit stop on his way to Japan and has never left. He may have traded his cruising yacht for the more competitive S/Y Mahligai, a Sydney 46, and he may call Sydney home, yet his preferred shipyard is Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM) not too far from where he first made landfall. Over a coffee, he gave his thoughts on why he consistently returns to GCCM.

Murray has some pretty impressive sailing pedigree. He was the head instructor at Pacific Sailing School before skippering Iain Murray’s ex America’s Cup class yacht, Spirit of Australia, and then setting up Kookaburra Sailing school. He has completed numerous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races and Sydney to Southport Yacht Races. Then, six years ago Murray and his partner, Jenny, experienced some rudder bearing issues after completing the Sydney to Southport race.

At the bar of the Southport Yacht Club, he was introduced to Graham ‘Scooter’ Eaton of AME: a GCCM tenant. When Scooter suggested he could assist and that he would sail Mahligai up the Coomera River with him, Murray was impressed. ‘That wouldn’t happen in Sydney,’ he thought to himself.

Mahligai at GCCM

After a stint on the shipyard at GCCM, the issue was fixed and Murray was converted. It is a relationship which has seen Mahligai return each year; she slips in between the races heading north from Sydney to make use of the 80 onsite contractors. The relationship goes both ways as GCCM supports the yacht’s competitive racing campaigns.

“The most remarkable thing about GCCM is how all the contractors dovetail together. They all speak with each other and work around schedules to get the work done on time. It requires minimal input from me,” explained Murray.

In subsequent visits to the GCCM shipyard, Murray decided to soda blast and refair Mahligai. “I had my heart in my mouth when I asked Bradford Marine for an estimate. It was not going to be an easy job. His estimate was reasonable so we proceeded yet to my absolute astonishment, the final bill was LESS than the estimate. To me that spoke volumes about their integrity,” continued Murray.

Mahligai has been back in 2019 for her annual slipping. “I generally come up from Sydney and make a bit of a weekend of it. The GCCM team has collected me from the airport to make life a little easier and with all the trades onsite, it is a one stop shop. That is truly gold. It allows me to get it all done in the short time I am here,” offered Murray.

Mahligai has returned to the water and Murray and Jenny took a few days to cruise the Broadwater before cruising back to Sydney. Then the bluewater sailing season will start ending with the Sydney to Hobart in which Murray and Jenny will be racing with a mixed New Zealand and Australian crew looking to test their skills in a very competitive fleet. Or the little achievable adventure as he likes to call it.

On behalf of the entire GCCM team and tenants, we thank Murray for his continued support and look forward to celebrating some more racing wins with him.