Title: Australia II in the Fremantle Martitime Museum
Date: 4 December 2010 08h10
Author: Juerg Kaufmann
Pertn December 2010: Australia II (KA 6) is the 12 Metre challenge boat sailed by John Bertrand to win the 1983 America's Cup. She was the first successful challenger, and broke a 132 year string of successful defenses by the New York Yacht Club.
Designed by Ben Lexcen, built by Steve Ward, owned by Alan Bond and helmed by John Bertrand. Lexcen's Australia II design featured a winged keel which gave the boat a significant advantage in sailing faster and pointing higher into the wind. The boat was also very quick in stays. The winged keel was a major design advance, and its legality was questioned by the New York Yacht Club. During the summer of 1983, as selection trials took place for the Cup defence that autumn, the New York Yacht Club challenged the legality of the keel design. The controversy was decided in Australia II's favour.
In the mid-1980s, Australia II was sent to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia for display. For the 150th anniversary of the America's Cup, the boat was removed from the museum and shipped to the Isle of Wight, sailing with the original crew for several days of commemorative regattas. The boat has since been returned to Fremantle, Western Australia where it is on permanent display in the Western Australian Maritime Museum.
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