The America’s Cup community gathered on Wednesday in Perth to celebrate one of its own – Kevin Parry, the principal backer of the Kookaburra campaign, which became the Australian defender of the Cup in 1987.
Parry, 77, was a celebrated Western Australian businessman. He was killed in a car accident near his home in Western Australia last month.
Although Parry’s Kookaburra was successful in the defender trials, they would eventually fall to Dennis Conner’s Stars and Stripes team in the Match and the America’s Cup would head back to the United States.
The Kookaburra campaign was launched in response to a plea from Alan Bond, whose Australia II had won the Cup in 1983. Bond was concerned there wasn’t adequate internal competition to build a defender strong enough to see off the onslaught of challengers expected in Perth. So Parry stepped up.
'Kevin Parry wasn’t a man to back down from a challenge and here he saw an opportunity to do something special, right in his own backyard,' said Iain Murray, who was Parry’s skipper then, and is now the head of ACRM, the race management arm of the 34th America’s Cup.
'By launching another defense candidate, he gave an opportunity to a lot of Australian yachtsman who would otherwise have been spectators in 1987. All of us on Kookaburra owe him a debt of gratitude.'
Sailing wasn’t Parry’s original sport; he was a talented baseball player who would go on to establish the Perth Heat baseball team as well as Western Australia’s first baseball stadium, Parry Field.
On Wednesday, Iain Murray, and many of his Kookaburra crew mates, were in attendance at the service to pay final respects.