Australia II will complete another successful chapter in its remarkable sailing career when she is returned to the Western Australian Maritime Museum
Australia II will complete another successful chapter in its remarkable sailing career when she is returned to the Western Australian Maritime Museum by the Australia II Jubilee Challenge syndicate in a land ceremony in Fremantle on 18 November.
On that day, the yacht “that stopped a nation” and WA team members from America’s Cup campaigns since 1983, will take part in the Lotteries Parade, part of the Fremantle Festival. During the parade, the team members will ceremonially hand over their position as “honour guard” around the yacht to Trustees and staff of the Western Australian Museum.
This ends the latest chapter in the famous 12-metre yacht’s colourful history. In 1983, Australia II carried off yachting’s holy grail – the America’s Cup – at Newport, Rhode Island, USA, the first challenger in 132 years to take the Cup from its original winner the New York Yacht Club. She trialled with Australia IV before the 1987 Cup and then spent over a decade in the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia.
In August this year, the yacht was reunited with the original victorious crew to sail again in the America’s Cup 150th anniversary Jubilee Regatta in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, England.
In more or less original condition, and with a volunteer crew – a few of whom had not sailed since 1983 – Australia II competed against some 37 other 12-metre yachts. Against stiff competition, the nearly 20 year-old Australia II came third overall in the Grand Prix Class for 12-metres, and second in the historic UBS Round the Island re-enactment of the race 150 years ago.
Maritime Museum Director Graeme Henderson said that the Syndicate and crew had done a remarkable job with the backing of Shell Development (Australia), P&O Nedlloyd, Channel 7 and other generous sponsors of the campaign.
“The reaction of the world yachting community and media to seeing Australia II in the water again was nothing short of phenomenal,” Mr Henderson said. “The biggest tribute was a special award from co-hosts of the Regatta, the Royal Yacht Squadron and New York Yacht Club, who presented the team with a magnificent trophy for the yacht that brought the greatest benefit to the sport of yachting by participating in the America’s Cup Jubilee Regatta.”
After the hand-over, Australia II will be stored until her installation as a centre-piece of the new Western Australian Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay, Fremantle, due to open in 2002.