Remarks on Greeting the Australian and American Crewmembers of the America's Cup Competition

September 28, 1983

The President. Well, Ambassador and Lady Cotton, Commodores Stone and Dalziell, crewmembers of both vessels, and ladies and gentlemen:

Two hundred years ago when the British Army surrendered at Yorktown, a song was played as the British troops marched out under a white flag, played by the British band because the colonials didn't have a band. The song they were playing was called ``The World Turned Upside Down.'' Today people must be questioning whether the term ``down under'' applies to Australia any more.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the crews of both vessels. You all did an outstanding job. You captured the imagination of the people the world over.

Skipper John Bertrand, you and the crew of the Australia II have shown us the stuff of which Australians are made. I know that your countrymen are proud of you. And I want you to take this message back: that Americans are proud, too; we're proud to have Australians as our very dear friends. We salute you in your hour of triumph.

To the crew of the Liberty I say, and I'm certain all Americans feel this way, ``Well done.'' I spoke with Dennis Conner shortly after the race. I'm sorry he couldn't be with us today. We should think of him not as the loser of this race, but as the man who successfully defended the cup in 1980 and a skipper who's had a brilliant yachting career.

A special word of congratulations to Alan Bond. Alan, you represent the kind of tenacity with which Americans and Australians can identify. For 13 years and four challenges and at heavy financial sacrifice, you've been trying to accomplish this feat. You just kept on coming. But don't relax now, because, Alan -- and that's the other message to our friends in Australia -- the Americans are coming back stronger than ever next time around.

Seriously, the competition that we celebrate today is a tribute to the spirit and peace-loving character of our two nations. During that race 132 years ago, when our yacht, the America, competed against a squadron of Britain's best, at one point, with the America 7\1/2\ miles in the lead, our vessel passed the Royal Yacht. The captain of the America and the crew doffed their caps and stood at attention as a salute to the Queen and to their competitors.

A British paper of the day noted ``a mark of respect to the Queen, not the less becoming because it was bestowed by Republicans.'' [Laughter] I understand that Commodore Stone and the members of the New York Yacht Club paid the same tribute to the crew of the Australia II at the end of this America's Cup. And I join them. I might add that when we won that cup back in 1851, there were numerous comments about the America's unique design. We had every innovation of the day -- except a winged keel, of course.

Let me just say that was 132 years ago. If we had to get beat, we're glad it was by the Aussies. But one final bit of advice to the Perth Yacht Club: Don't bolt that cup down too tightly. [Laughter]

Congratulations to all of you, both teams, and God bless you both.

Mr. Jewett. Mr. President, on behalf of the crew of Liberty and our sponsor, the Fort Skyler Foundation, I want to thank you very much for inviting us to be here today. Dennis Conner regretted that he couldn't be here, but he certainly appreciated your phone call at a moment when he felt rather depressed, and all of us did. But you gave us a very good feeling that evening.

We wanted to show you, however, that in spite of losing the longest winning streak in sports history, that we did put up a good race. We did bring you a little memento which will show you that indeed we were ahead of Australia at times. It's a picture of Liberty and Australia very close, I might add, which is the way it was the entire time. And also on behalf of our syndicate, this is the burgee that we flew all this summer. And we would like to add that to your collection.

And now, I have to say that Alan Bond and I arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1974 for the first America's Cup competition. Our group, with Freedom, beat you in 1980, and now here you are back again, and you beat us in '84. But as the President says, watch out for us in '87. Alan, congratulations.

Mr. Bond. Mr. President, it gives me great pleasure on behalf of our syndicate and the crew and the people of Australia that I present you this book which is two decades of the America's Cup. All of our crew and their contingent, and those who could not be here today, have signed this for you. And I hope you will keep this as a memento not just to us winning the cup but to the great friendship that exists between our two nations. Liberty and its crew put up a great effort. And we were just the better yacht on the day, but take nothing from them.

Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. Thank you.

Well, I'm very proud to have these mementos. I am very proud to have -- I'd call it a flag; you called it something else -- [laughter] -- and this picture. And again, I just want to say that I think the people of Australia and the people of the United States all can be very proud of this event, of all of you who made it what it was. And it's just kind of a shame for those of us who look on that we have to wait all these years now until it's done again.

Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 3:38 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.