It’s been 40 years since Australia II made history by winning the prestigious America’s Cup, ending the United States’ 131-year reign as the cup’s holder. To celebrate this incredible achievement, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club hosted a special event to honour the skipper, crew and the people behind the teams of Australia II.
The event featured a line-up of esteemed speakers, including the skipper of Australia II, the legendary John Bertrand AM. Bertrand’s leadership was pivotal in securing the victory that saw Australia’s flag raised in triumph over the America’s Cup for the first time. Bertrand reflected on the historic occasion, recounting events that led to Australia II’s victory, and the impact it had on the wider Australian sailing community.
Members of Australia II’s crew including Rob Brown, Phillip Smidmore, Colin Beashel and Brian Richardson shared their memories and insights into what it took to win against the odds. The crew members provided a fascinating account of the gruelling and intense six-month training program, which cemented their place in sailing history. Hugh Treharne was also in attendance.
This unique event was attended by over 165 patrons all with a passion for sailing and a love of Australian sporting history. It was an opportunity to hear from some of the greatest minds in sailing and relive one of the greatest moments in Australian sporting history. The event proved a draw card for many sailing alumni including Malcolm Page OAM Gold medallist at the 2008/2012 Olympic Games, and now Commodore of the Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club, Matt Belcher OAM, two-time gold medallist in the 470 class, Rob Mundle OAM, Maritime commentator and Author, Marcus Blackmore AM, with 13 Sydney-Hobart Races under his belt and a past Australian Farr 40 champion and Rolf Cohen, President of the Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club.
We collectively celebrated an iconic sailing achievement, and paid homage to the crew of Australia II for their incredible contribution to sailing history.
Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s clubhouse is located on the pristine Pittwater waterways. The clubhouse’s idyllic location provided the perfect backdrop to reflect on the achievement of Australia II and the significance of its victory for Australia and the sailing community worldwide. The food was also amazing!