Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

Scuttlebutt Forum
For all your commentary, questions, and updates.

Click here to view.

Scuttlebutt News:

1983 America's Cup - The final word

by John Bertrand, Skipper, Australia 2

John Bertrand
(October 22, 2009) I hope this provides closure regarding the questions about Australia II and the '83 America's Cup design debate. I'm glad we fought it out on the water and not in the court room; that seems to be the status quo of today.

John Longley, Project Manager of Australia 2, did some additional searching of the archival files of Australia 2 at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle, and found two documents (see links below) that are both self explanatory and revealing.

It is very clear that Ben Lexcen categorically was the principle designer of Australia 2. The Dutch were a key part of the design team and played an important role. Ben used the Dutch tank testing facilities for 9 months. As to who said what to whom over those 9 months 27 years ago only Ben really knows. It is very sad that Ben is not here to refute any claims.

But one thing is certain, Ben was our principle designer. He hired all the design team members, he and he alone had final say on all design direction and output. The documents are very clear on this.

We do know that Ben was designing wings on rudders and centreboards 20 years earlier in the 1960's. His original 18 skiff Taipan, designed in 1958 and on display at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, features wings on its rudder. This innovation was typical of Ben throughout his design career.

The New York Yacht Club including their legal support team conducted their due diligence. And as the documents attest, within the hard fought world of the America's Cups, they tried everything to unseat us and failed. But let me say when we finally won they lost graciously.

I knew Ben for over 20 years. He was one of the most honourable and trustworthy men I'd ever met. He was also a genius. No other person had the brilliance and experience to pull all the moving parts together of such a complex program.

How important was the winged keel? Very. Both technically and psychologically. So too were the thousands of hours of sail development and crew training vital to the outcome. It all finally came together to produce a world class challenge. The rest is history."

With best wishes,

John Bertrand
Skipper, Australia 2

click to open      click to open

back to top

Scuttlebutt Sailing Club

GMT Composites

Team McLube

Lemon & Line

Newport Shipyard

Kaenon Polarized

 Latest Issue  |  Archives  |  Calendar  |  Photos  |  Classifieds  |  Extras  |  Forum  |   Scuttlebutt Sailing Club  |  Privacy  |  About  |