Please select your home edition
Edition
Sail Port Stephens 2017 728x90

THAT Australian flag - flies at Australia's largest regatta

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team on 26 Jan 2011
Windspirit’s Australian II flag - Audi Victoria Week 2011 Teri Dodds /Audi Victoria Week http://www.teridodds.com
When John Bertrand and his Australia II crew won the America’s Cup in Newport, Alan Bond and the support crew delivered a giant Australian flag to Australia II which was hoisted to the mast top, along with the iconic boxing kangaroo battle flag.

That 48 foot x 24 foot Australian flag was at the time, the largest flying flag in the World.

The Australian flags that now fly atop the Australian Parliament and the Sydney Harbour Bridge have been cut from that original pattern.

Today the flag that fluttered in Newport on that historic day flew on Corio Bay Geelong, as part of the Australia Day (Australia's founding day holiday) celebrations at the 2011 Audi Victoria Week, atop a cruising division yacht called Windspirit, one of 400+ boats competing.

Why and how did this iconic flag get to Geelong?

After the Australia Day Sailpast we spoke to Royal Victoria Yacht Squadron member and Windspirit owner/skipper Terry O’Hare, who came to Australia as a '10 pound Pomme' at age 17, just seven years after the end of World War II.

With a background in cabinet making, the young O’Hare became involved in automobile coach building, succeeding there then moving into truck repairs and truck stops and many more things with ongoing success.

Terry O’Hare explained. ‘It t all started off with another project I had in the middle seventies. I built the big truck stop out of Campbellfield (Victoria), next to the Ford Motor Company, called Truck City.

‘A lot of people know of it because it was a landmark in those days. It was one of the first really big truck stops. Trucks Stop of Australia (TA) was the same initials as Trucks Stop of America and TA had the same symbol so we adopted their symbol and the Americans adopted us, virtually, and we ran quite a big operation.

‘While I was in America checking out truck stops I saw the biggest flying flag in the world, or at least they claimed it was.

‘I took on the challenge of building the biggest flying flag in the World, on the tallest flagpole of that era.

‘The flagpole we put up was 122 feet and this flag, which we flew today on Corio Bay, is the original flag built by Evans and Evans, which we originally flew on that flagpole. It is 48 foot wide by 24 foot drop.

‘I claimed in the Guinness Book of Records and held that record for quite a number of years until my fellow Aussie Dick Smith knocked me off. He commissioned one that was 50 feet by 25 feet.

‘We got wind that he was building it so we got another company to build one for us 60 feet by 30 feet.

'Smith only held that record for about a month. The new 60 by 30 flag is too big to fly off a flag pole, but I have still the flag and we sometimes fly it off the helicopters.

How did the flag get on Australia II?

‘I was asked to be the Logistics Manager for the Australian base in Newport. It was an unforgettable three months. I took the flag with me.

‘So we took it out to Australia II and it was flown with the smaller Boxing Kangaroo flag.

'Prior to that, just a few days earlier, it had been flown from a very big building in New York. We bribed the security guards to let us up there; it was flying across New York one morning just before we actually won the America´s Cup. It was on television.

‘This original flag has been to every America´s Cup since then, that same flag. It has just come back from Perth where it flew for the 25th Anniversary.

‘It has been to England for the 150th anniversary of the America’s Cup, flying again on Australia II.

‘Now days we fly it at all these regattas; we have been to 12 or so Victoria Weeks – it’s wonderful to be able to fly our big flag on Australia Day.'

‘It’s a piece of Australian sailing history...' concluded O'Hare.

And so say all of us.



Doyle Sails NZ - Never Look BackPantaenius - Worldwide SupportHenri Lloyd 50 Years

Related Articles

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Sydney Hobart Race-Dark and stormy, well because it is Dark and Stormy
Proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart Well it is now dark and the rain 'storms' have passed, but proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart, the custom Murray 37, Dark & Stormy had a wonderful exchange on the radio. Quite possibly it was co-owner and Navigator Terry Courts on the VHF in the super-frank exchange with Hobart Race Control at around 1928hrs on 29/12/16.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Wicked
ather and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery Father and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery, but Mark is out on the water, approaching Hobart. From on board he said, 'Amazing race. Barely any windward work. Just does not get better than this. Bit of gear damage cost us early, and we had to sail a little conservatively.'
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Accepting the Challenge
When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South at Christmas time. Luckily this has not been a problem for Chris Mrakas and his new crew, which includes Bruce Reidy
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – 67 out of 70
It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite in the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race so far, then it is more than A+++. Anto Sweetapple from on board the Jones 40, Quetzalcoatl, reports in from at sea for us.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2016 - The 60 Hour report card
60 hours into the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart race. 16 boats finished,five boats retired and 67 boats at sea. The state of play 60 hours into the 72nd running of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. At 0100hrs Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time this morning, 16 boats had finished the 2016 race. Five boats had retired, and 67 boats were still on the water.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – the second step for CQS and 2017
It was a frustrating end to a frustrating race for the newest supermaxi in the 2016 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race It was a frustrating end to a frustrating race for the newest supermaxi to compete in the 2016 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. It was just her second ever race, with her first, the White Island Race in New Zealand, producing a line honours win. While Ludde Ingvall’s radical new 98-footer CQS had a very slow passage across an almost windless Storm Bay and River Derwent.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016