Dusting cobwebs off Australia II


Andy Rice went sailing on KA-6 for her first outing on British waters
The Little White Pointer is back on the water, and I had the privilege of sailing on board her for her first outing on British waters. For a museum piece that hasn't got wet for 15 years, KA-6 otherwise known as Australia II, the most famous 12-Metre ever built and the boat which stole the America's Cup off the Americans for the first time in 132 years, is in remarkable condition. Judging by her performances at Skandia Life Cowes Week in IRC Class 0, she has every chance of winning what promises to be a highly competitive Prada 12-Metre World Championship in just over a week's time. Warren Jones, chief executive of the Australia II campaign back in 1983, has been instrumental in bringing KA-6 back to competitive life. It has not been an easy task. At the helm of Black Swan, the original tender boat and according to Jones, "the only boat ever to have towed", he is clearly delighted to have reached this point. "It wasn't the original plan to compete with Australia II here. We flew over to Japan to take a look at Australia III and IV (Ben Lexcen's designs for the unsuccessful defence of the Cup in Fremantle), but they were in a terrible state. They had been neglected for years - all the gear had been stolen, and the hulls would have needed a lot of work. That's when we decided to take a look at the Australia II option." It wasn't going to be easy. Alan Bond's syndicate sold her to the Australian Government who in turn sold her to the Western Australian Government, and she has been in retirement ever since. Jones and his team had to break down a lot of barriers and cut through reams of red tape to release Australia

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