The American team has won the America’s Cup after beating New Zealand. It was a surprise as they were well behind, but went on to an exciting win in the 34th America’s cup.
I was in Newport, Rhode Island 30 years ago when the Australian boat, Australia II, took the cup from America who had held it since the beginning of the competition. It was the best time to be in gorgeous Newport.
We had befriended someone who was on the support boat for the Australian team and we went out each day to watch the ocean races. On calm days this was a bit like watching grass grow, but the coastline is beautiful and it was fun to be part of the action. These photos are 30 years old and have been sitting in the bottom af a box, so they are a bit faded.
Every day the enormous Australian flag would be raised above the dock and Men at Work would belt out “I come from a land down under” just to let everyone know the Australians were in town.
The Boxing Kangaroo flag also flew high over Newport.
For a long time the Australian boat was well behind the Americans, but slowly they began to win a few races and it became possible that they had a chance of winning.
Australians who had never taken an interest in sailing became riveted to their TV sets and were suddenly sailing experts. There was much discussion about the secret keel and there were rumours that the Americans had sent divers down to try to get a look at it.
The keel was kept safely under wraps whenever the boat was pulled out of the water.
My son, who was 10 at the time, wrote to me and at the bottom of the letter there was a PS…”Mum, I think the Americans are doing something to our boat.” I was obviously expected to investigate since I was on the spot.
On the day of the deciding race there was no wind and the race was called off. The conditions were the same the next day so we decided not to go out on the support boat…big mistake.
The race went ahead and we had to watch from a TV in a bar onshore. At one point the Australian boat was trailing badly and I couldn’t watch. I went for a walk and returned just in time to see Australia II cross the finish line first.
We rushed back to the dock only to find the gates locked. We climbed a few fences and made it in time to see the victorious boat sail in.
We were there to see Australia II raised from the water and the winged keel revealed for the first time. Unfortunately that photo seems to have disappeared.
It was an exciting time to be Australian. The Americans were very gracious in defeat and their congratulations were genuine.
I loved my time in Newport and I think it is a pity that the race is no longer held there. It was the perfect setting for the race.
It was 1983 and like everyone else I had a perm. Here I am sitting on someone’s cute car in front of the place we were staying. It was one of the fabulous mansions which had been converted to apartments.
You get an even better look at the perm in the next photo..also in a cute car.
Congratulations to the winning American team…I wish I had been there.