Unique 50-year celebration of Australian yachting win

  • Club
  • NEWS
  • By Ross Macdonald
  • 30 Nov 2017 17:00:54
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Mercedes III - Admiral's Cup

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Fifty years ago, and on only their second attempt, a knockabout team of Australian yachtsmen journeyed to the UK and won the Admiral’s Cup, the unofficial world championship of offshore sailing.

This weekend, veteran boats and sailors from that era will come together in a unique three-day regatta on Sydney Harbour to celebrate the anniversary of that stunning victory.

At the time, the win was honoured with front-page coverage in the nation’s newspapers. “THE CUP IS OURS! – Greatest ever yachting triumph – Aussies hailed as world’s best” screamed the headlines of The Sun.

An international competition between three-boat teams, the Admiral’s Cup was sailed over four races – three in the English Channel and Solent, with the notorious Fastnet Race into the Irish Sea closing out the series.

The victorious Australian team in 1967 comprised Caprice of Huon, Balandra and Mercedes III. Remarkably, the sons of all three skippers of those yachts will be sailing in the anniversary regatta. Caprice and Mercedes III will be racing again, but Balandra is still being restored in Tasmania.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club of Great Britain has recognised the significance of the event by flying out the large gold Admiral’s Cup itself to be the centerpiece of celebrations.

Co-patrons of the Regatta are offshore legend Syd Fischer, Gordon Ingate (owner/skipper of Caprice of Huon in the 1965 campaign), and Sir James Hardy who sailed in the team that won the Cup for Australia again in 1979. They will all attend as guests of honour at the Welcome Dinner, and Ingate and Hardy are racing during the Regatta.

Twenty-one yachts will take part in the three-race series that was initially proposed by the Classic Yacht Association of Australia. Race management duties and the social activities ashore are being shared between the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

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