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Aussies rule the waves

The News - 27 September 1983

Adelaide; News Limited

Newspaper, 410 x 300 mm

Location : State Library of South Australia - view catalogue entry

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In 1983 Australia II with its secret ‘winged keel’ won the America’s Cup putting an end to America’s 132-year hold of the title—still the longest winning record in modern sports history. Australia II was the smallest yacht ever to challenge for the America’s Cup.

The winged keel, an innovative design by Ben Lexcen, was heavier than usual and fitted with fins. It helped the yacht to be swift and easily manoeuvrable. The yacht’s owner, Alan Bond, was careful to hide the keel whenever the boat was out of the water, creating much curiosity and speculation about its design. One night guards removed divers who tried to swim underneath the boat to look at the keel. Australia brought charges of illegal espionage against the New York Yacht Club over the incident. The Club countered by asking that Australia II be disqualified because of the keel, but were overruled. Australia II went on to win the Cup, beating the American yacht Liberty 4-3 in the series.

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