America’s Cup drama: then and now

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After a long, drawn-out legal battle that has been informally dubbed “Battle of the Billionaires,” Alinghi and Oracle will attempt a settlement as to who will have the right to organize the 33rd America’s Cup regatta.

It will be held this weekend, which also marks the 25th anniversary of the Australia II crew’s stunning win of the America’s Cup — the first challenger to wrest the Cup away from a United States crew in the 132-year history of the event.

Ernesto Bertarelli, head of the Switzerland-based, two-time defending holder of the Cup, Alinghi, will meet with American Larry Ellison of BMW Oracle in San Francisco. The outcome of the meeting could determine the future of the next Cup regatta and whether or not it will be held as scheduled next year.

On Sept. 26, 1983, the 12-meter Australia II, owned by Alan Bond and skippered by John Bertrand, came from behind to prevail four races to three against American rival Dennis Conner, sailing the 12-meter Liberty off Newport, R.I.

The landmark victory gave the Auld Mug trophy to the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Australia after the defender, the New York Yacht Club, had held the Cup since 1851, sustaining the longest winning streak in sports.

Conner endured the mantle as the skipper “who lost the Cup,” until he and his crew of Stars & Stripes, representing the San Diego Yacht Club, won it back four years later. Bond’s syndicate lost the Defender series and did not race in the final.

— Richard Armstrong and Elizabeth Ellis