NEWPORT, RI – The 1977 COURAGEOUS team is having their reunion later this month, but it actually all began in earnest 40 years ago today as Ted Turner, Gary Jobson & Co. took on AUSTRALIA with the late, great Noel Robins (AUS) skippering and the "famous Andy Rose" (USA, Newport Beach) calling tactics. Mr Turner was, by then, a celebrity even before he launched CNN (three years later in 1980), which attracted much mainstream media to Newport and the event. Our longtime friend Andy caused consternation within New York Yacht Club and the USA yachting establishment by "defecting" to sail with a foreign team – notwithstanding that he had been sailing on and off with Alan Bond and other Australian offshore teams (Maxis mostly) throughout the 70s.
So acute was the fear that other Americans would sail with foreign teams, that NYYC put in a nationality rule for the 1980 Cup that came to be known, informally, as the Rose Rule. That rule was rescinded after the Swiss team ALINGHI won the Cup in 2003, but by all accounts the Kiwis will reinstate a nationality rule for AC36 at Auckland in 2021.
The NYYC's fear of other Americans sailing with foreign teams is especially ironic when you consider that, of late, the American AC team has been skippered by an Aussie, Jimmy Spithill, with a largely Aussie crew.
In case you missed it, there is a terrific NBC documentary on the 1977 Cup here.