Australia II

The Australia II is an Australian 12-Metre Regatta yacht that could beat under the command of skipper John Bertrand as the first successful challengers ( challenger ) in the America's Cup, the Americans after 132 years and won the Cup ( bottomless pot ) for Australia.

Design Features

The challenger yacht Australia II in the 25th America's Cup was designed by the Australian yacht designer Ben Lexcen and built at the shipyard of Stephen Ward in Perth made ​​of aluminum. The yacht belonged to the Australian consortium America's Cup Challenge in 1983 under the leadership of Alan Bond, an Australian businessman. Helmsman and skipper of the America II, the Australian bronze medalist in the Finn Dinghy 1976 John Bertrand.

The most prominent design feature of the Australia II was an innovative winged keel ( winged keel ), which had not been used on yachts of this size. This design idea that Ben Lexcen was optimized with the help of tank testing in the Netherlands, the yacht helped to impressive sailing performance. She was very fast on the wind and their Manöveriereigenschaften were excellent, as they could turn and rotate faster than the traditional long keel. The design of the keel sparked a controversy about the admissibility. The person in charge of organizing the New York Yacht Club ( NYYC ) criticized in particular the support from the Netherlands in the development of the optimum keel profile, although the NYYC had previously given his consent to the towing tank experiments in Wageningen.

Ben Lexcen spent at the beginning of 1981, four months in Holland to perform with the Dutch engineers Peter van Oossanen and Joop W. Sloff extensive tank testing. After more than 400 tests with many one hundred hours of simulations they had a hull profile is found, which was significantly faster than a conventional meter hull 12. Ben Lexcen had developed a design with a low water displacement and a very short waterline.

Until the beginning of the regatta series for the America 's Cup was unclear whether the new keel design was compatible with the strict rules of the 12 -meter class. The wing keel was finally classified as legal, especially since the Australia II was not the first boat with such a keel. The great success in the America's Cup helped the winged keel of the world's great popularity. So Dennis Conner started in recapturing the Cup arrived in Fremantle in 1987, also with a wing keel.

The second Australian campaign America's Cup Challenge in 1983 was based not only on the revolutionary new wing keel technology, but we also took a new sail technology with laminated Kevlar / Mylar sail in the interaction of the company North Sails, Hood and Sobstad Australia with the sailmaker Tom Schnackenberg from New Zealand, which was later incorporated in 2000 for his contributions to the development of sailing as an honorary member of the America's Cup Hall of Fame. Schnackenberg designed 40 Genoa, 10 mainsail and spinnaker 50, which were the U.S. sailing not only equal but superior to some extent. Furthermore, the skipper John Bertrand made ​​sure that his crew not only physically acted on the highest level, but also mentally was able to withstand the enormous pressure of such emotional Regatta. John Bertrand sought out the best sailors from Australia: Olympic medal winners and participants at previous America's Cup challenges. This mixture made ​​it possible for Australia II, very successfully cut in preparing 1983 season with 48 wins in 55 starts.

25th America's Cup in 1983

Australia II was launched under the pennant of the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Australia under the sail number KA 6 as challengers ( challenger ) under the command of John Bertrand.

The defenders yacht ( defender ) was the 12-Metre yacht Liberty ( U.S. 40 ) under the pennant of the New York Yacht Club with the very experienced skipper and Olympic bronze medal winner Dennis Conner. The Americans defended since 132 years successfully and without precedent in the sports history of the America 's Cup, the so-called bottomless pot (the auld mug ).

The regatta was designed by the organizing NYYC to seven races in the waters off Newport (Rhode Iceland ). Who had first won four races, was the winner. The regatta series got a nationwide importance, despite the marginal sport sailing, where the challenger had a slight advantage in the press and the public through the media. It was felt that possibly before there was a sensation. After a quick initial success of Liberty with changing guides Bertrand was finally able to compensate in the decisive sixth race with a lead of 1 minute and 21 seconds on the state of 3:3 with the Australia II.

The Americans realized that their winning streak could break after 132 years. The major newspapers reported on the America 's Cup on the first pages and called the Ragatta The Race of the Century ( The Race of the Century ). Never before had so far in the history of the America 's Cup six or seven races to determine the winner. In the last race John Bertrand was then hit with his young team the American Dennis Conner with Liberty after a hard fight with 47 Apply by 41 seconds.

When handing over the trophy there was a delay because craftsmen first had to unscrew the jug from its pedestal which screwed into the club building of the New York Yacht Club abyss. The Americans had can not imagine losing this Cup once.

The first-time to win the America 's Cup was a runaway hit for Australia and Australia II was supported by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC ) in the U.S. television series "Wide World of Sports" named Athlete of the Year in 1983.

Impact on popular culture

The boxing kangaroo boxing kangaroo was the official mascot of the successful America's Cup challenge in 1983 by Alan Bond and his Australia II team. Winning the Cup caused a great deal of enthusiasm in Australia, the song Down Under (synonym for Australia) the band Men at Work was the official anthem of the crew of Australia II

In the movie The Wind in which it comes to the competition for the America 's Cup, Australia II is portrayed as Boomerang.

Subsequent use

1986 Australia II was used as a sparring partner in the America's Cup defense campaign for 1987. Dennis Conner was the 26th America's Cup win and bring the trophy back to the United States.

After Australia II was exhibited in the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. At the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the America 's Cup in 2001 left Australia II the museum and has been to the Isle of Wight transported in the English Channel by ship deck cargo to actively participate there with the winning team from 1983 for several days at memory races. The yacht reaches the second place in the 12 -meter class in the historic race around the Isle of Wight ( " Round the Iceland Race" ). The Australia II was given the honor of being named as the yacht which had brought the sport of sailing the most success through their participation in the "America 's Cup Jubilee Regatta". Then the yacht returned to Fremantle, Western Australia, where it is constantly shown in the Western Australian Maritime Museum as a prominent exhibit.