Alan Bond died today in Perth, from complications arising out of heart surgery. He was 77.
One of Australia’s best-known business figures, his fame became notoriety in the 1990s with his four-year imprisonment for over a billion-dollar-plus fraud.
But he first gained national prominence a decade earlier by leading the syndicate that won the America’s Cup, yachting’s most prized trophy. It was the first defeat for the US in 132 years, ending the longest-running stranglehold on a trophy in the history of any sport.
The yacht, Australia II, was famous for its winged keel which greatly increased the boat’s speed, especially downwind.
In the crucial race, Australia II trailed the Americans and all looked lost, until a monster downwind sprint put the boat back in front and giving the Australians victory.
Here’s the excellent ABC News report by Jim Middleton from the vault 30 years ago.