1967: When Australia First Won The Admiral’s Cup (Part 1 of 2)

Fifty years ago, in August 1967, Australian yachting made history on the world stage, winning the Admiral’s Cup event sailed in UK waters, then recognized as the unofficial world championship for ocean racing.

It was only the second time an Australian team had entered the event, which, up to then, had been dominated by yachts from the UK and USA. The result was astonishing at the time – similar to Australia beating Brazil in a final of the World Cup.

This is part one of a two part story of that remarkable victory.

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Magnus Halvorsen (1918–2015)

Magnus & Trygve Halvorsen with one of their winning Sydney Hobart trophies.

Magnus and Trygve Halvorsen with one of their winning Sydney-Hobart trophies. Photograph courtesy CYCA Archives.

A generation of a family known for their classic wooden boat building in Australia has now come to an end with the passing of Magnus Halvorsen late in July, a month short of his 97th birthday. He was born in Norway, but migrated to Australia (via South Africa) as a child in 1925 with his mother, four brothers and two sisters. His father, Lars Halvorsen had arrived here in 1924, and established a boat building business in Sydney.

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Sydney to Hobart: a past and a present winner

Magnus Halvorsen, Trygve Halvorsen, Elnor Bruem and Carl Halvorsen at the opening of the 2007 exhibition Dreamboats & Workboats – The Halvorsen story at the ANMM.

Magnus Halvorsen, Trygve Halvorsen, Elnor Bruem and Carl Halvorsen at the opening of the 2007 exhibition Dreamboats & Workboats – The Halvorsen story at the museum.

It’s another afternoon of chaotic, stormy weather as I put these words together. It reminds me of a simple thing the late Trygve Halvorsen said to me not long ago about the Sydney to Hobart race: ‘You have to finish to win it’. He was stressing what seems an obvious point, but his message was that you have to carry with you in the good weather the weight of that extra material and strength that are needed to survive the bad stuff. There is no point in being a fair-weather boat only, or to sail south in one that could not cope when things turned for the worse. Continue reading