From a land down under in 1983

Published on September 7th, 2022

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
While SailGP and the modern America’s Cup twist and contort their events to provide television entertainment, two brothers brought sailing to Netflix the old fashioned way – with storytelling.

Chapman and Maclain Way, who created the Untold series, retell the story of the 1983 America’s Cup in which New York Yacht Club would finally lose its hold on a trophy which it had successfully defended over a period of 132 years.

The use of archival footage is their trademark, and it is somewhat remarkable the amount of film uncovered for this 1 hour and 23 minute episode. Combined with recent interviews of key contributors for the winning Australian team, along with losing skipper Dennis Conner, the event comes back to life 39 years later.

Titled Race of the Century, this was the fourth of four shows produced for 2022, and if I found fault, it was the lack of ‘untold’ details. The earlier episodes peeled back the cover on other sporting stories, offering lesser known facts, while the focus of this show was more on sharing the Aussie determination.

That, and being reminded of their theme song, Down Under by Men At Work.

Much was made about Australian boat’s wing-keel, and the protests by New York Yacht Club which claimed it did not meet the rules of being designed in country, with archival footage from Dutch scientist Joop Slooff disputing this claim. But modern footage would have Sloop admitting he was involved… a rule violation at that time… oops!

Anyway, the show was a win for sailing, but if any non-sailor takes their interest and seeks out the 2024 America’s Cup, they may be totally confused about the sport (and I wouldn’t blame them.)

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