Alan Bond has been given plenty of descriptors today: a businessman, fraudster and America’s cup champion are just a few.
But Colin Beashel, who was in his early 20s when he was selected to be part of Australia’s America’s Cup squad as a mainsheet trimmer will remember what Bond did for the sport of sailing and the national psyche.
“He gave a lot of people a lot of opportunity and employment as far as yachting goes,” Beashel said, adding the campaign, which Bond took four swipes at, employed sail makers, sailors, designers and boat builders.
“He helped the sport a great deal in this country and he always encouraged people to do their best,” Beashel said. “He trusted a lot of people.”
Winning the America’s Cup in 1983, after coming from behind on the downwind leg in the final race, Beashel said the team didn’t realise how closely people back at home were following their campaign.
“When we were over in Newport winning it, it was just a little team of people winning a yachting regatta, we had no idea how big it was over here,” he said.
Beashel’s wife Kay tells the story of being swamped at the airport and not being able to get anywhere near Beashel and the team because of the crowds.
“It was one of those moments in Australia’s sporting history that held a lot of people together and held the country together,” Colin Beashel said.
He recounted a welcome home parade in Perth when the team was “marched up on stage” and there were “thousands” of men, women and children waving an Australian flag.
“It was the start of people having a bit more national pride,” he said. “For me that was one of the more moving parts of that situation.”
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