On September 26, 1983, Australia became the first foreign nation to win sailing’s prestigious America’s Cup.
To say this was big news was putting it very mildly.
Not only had we broken sport’s longest winning streak – 132 years – but we came back from a 3-1 deficit to do so. Which is pretty impressive considering there are only seven races in the finals series.
At the time I was very young, but I do remember waking up early on each race day to listen to the action unfold on the radio with my dad.
And so it was I actually bore witness to the historic moment when Australia II (representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club) crossed the finishing line ahead of Liberty (representing the New York Yacht Club) to claim the title.
It sparked a massive celebration right across the nation, coming from the top down. Our then prime minister, Bob Hawke, even famously declared that “any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum”.
Nearly three decades later, though, it occurred to me my knowledge of the event was sadly lacking.
I knew the boat, with its famous winged keel, was designed by Ben Lexcen. I knew our skipper was John Bertrand and that Dennis Connors did the honours for America (he did go on to reclaim the title).
But as for the rest of our crew I had no idea who they were. And so I set out to find out and give them a nod. Here are their names . . .
Reserves – Will Bailleau, Rob Brown, Jim Hardy and Scott McAllister
If you’d like to read more on the event itself, visit the official America’s Cup website here.