KA5 Australia and KA14 Steak n Kidney, two of Australia's legendary 12 metre America's Cup racing yachts, will arrive into Sydney Harbour on Saturday 11th February 2012.
by Ben Morgan
The arrival will mark the completion of a six month recovery effort which has seen the yachts visit Mackay, Keppel Bay, Gladstone, Mooloolaba, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Nelsons Bay and Newcastle.
The two yachts will arrive outside of Sydney Heads between 3:00pm and 4:30pm on Saturday 11th February and will be joined by the 1995 America's Cup challenger, Spirit. All three historic yachts will make their way to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and onward to the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Both the KA5 and KA14 will go on display at the Museum and will also be available for public sailing experiences.
The two racing icons are warhorses of Australia’s many challenges in the famed America’s Cup during the 1970’s and 1980’s. They were constructed under the 12 metre design rule and represent an era of America’s Cup racing when the competing yachts were elegant and fast.
KA5 Australia, owned and commissioned by Alan Bond, was his 1977 and 1980 America's Cup challenger and was helmed by Sir James Gilbert Hardy. It was also the springboard for Australian yachting icon John Bertrand, who would go on to win the America's Cup skippering KA5's sister ship, KA6 Australia II. Whilst KA14 Steak n Kidney belonged to Sydney businessman Syd FIsher and was launched and campaigned for the 1987 America's Cup Defence trials in Freemantle, Western Australia.
Both yachts are now owned and operated by the Australian 12m Historic Trust, an all volunteer organisation formed for the purpose of acquiring, restoring and preserving Australia’s former 12 metre racing yachts.
'There are but a handful of these beautiful 12m racing yachts left in Australia. Almost all of them are now in the hands of overseas collectors and are raced on the International 12m racing scene in Europe and the Unites States.', said Benjamin Morgan , Trust President.
The Australian 12m Historic Trust and its team of volunteers have spent the past six months refitting and restoring the two vessels in preparation for their historic voyage home to Sydney and Wollongong.
'This has been both an exciting and challenging project, both yachts had been laid up unused for 8 years with much deterioration. This presented a unique array of challenges which have needed to be overcome to permit the safe delivery.', Benjamin Morgan said.
'We could undertake what we are doing without the support and understanding of our volunteers and our sponsors and patrons. As an all volunteer organisation, we rely on the support of those within the community, who appreciate and understand the importance of saving our modern history.', he said.
'Both yachts are wrapped in history, to have saved them is sensational. To be custodians of such great Australian history is a real privilege.', Benjamin Morgan said.
'Our organisation is open to all. If you have an interest in yachting, racing or our maritime history, I would encourage you to make contact and become involved,' he said. Australian 12m Historic Trust website
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10:44 AM Thu 9 Feb 2012 GMT
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