Friday, September 26, 2008

A day in history!

Australia II wins America’s Cup - 26th September 1983 - Alan Bond handed a gold plated spanner to be used to undo the nuts bolting 'The Cup' to its place at the New York Yacht Club.

The 1983 America's Cup was the occasion of the first successful challenge to the New York Yacht Club's 132-year defence of a sailing trophy. An Australian syndicate representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club won the regatta and match race, gaining the America's Cup and ending the longest winning streak in sporting history.

Alan Bond arrived at Newport with Australia II, already billed as one of the biggest threats to American 12 Metre dominance. The vessel was designed by Ben Lexcen and skippered by John Bertrand. The revolutionary "winged" keel sported by the Australian yacht was a subject of controversy and legal action which failed to disqualify the Australian challenge.
The trials in the courtroom and at sea intensified international media attention to the series. Australia II suffered equipment failure in the first two races against the American defender Liberty but came back from 3-1 down to win the last three races and the America’s Cup. In winning the seventh and deciding race on 26 September 1983, Australia II became the first successful challenger in 132 years.

The victory was televised and celebrated in public venues across Australia. Prime Minister Bob Hawke was interviewed at the late night celebration in Claremont and said, "Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum".

The America's Cup was transferred from the New York Yacht Club to the Royal Perth Yacht Club in Western Australia. In 1987-88, It was unsuccessfully defended in Fremantle, Western Australia, and Dennis Conner delivered the trophy to the San Diego Yacht Club in the United States of America.