Kodak Australasia & the America's Cup, 1987 - 1992

In September 1983 the yacht Australia II became the first non-American vessel to win the America's Cup in 132 years. The winged keel yacht was owned by the Bond syndicate, which was headed by Perth businessman Alan Bond. The syndicate had been involved in the race for a number of years, but had been unsuccessful in its previous attempts. After its celebrated 1983 win at Newport, Rhode Island, in the USA, the syndicate sought to compete in the 1987 America's Cup, to be hosted in Fremantle, Western Australia.

In 1985 Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd announced their decision to sponsor the Bond syndicate in their bid to win the America's Cup for a second time with a new yacht, Australia III. As part of their sponsorship agreement, Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd supplied products and photographic technology to the syndicate and in return were also entitled to use the 'Boxing Kangaroo', a symbol used by the Bond syndicate in 1983, on some of their photographic product packaging. Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd also ran a promotional campaign in 1985 for the 'America's Cup Summer' with cameras and other accessories marketed to spectators, to prepare for the 1987 race in Fremantle.

Unfortunately, the Australia III was not successful in the Defender Round Robin series and the Kookaburra III represented Australia in the 1987 America's Cup race instead. The Kookaburra III lost to the American challenger Stars & Stripes and the Cup returned to America.

However, Kodak Australasia remained involved in the 1987 America's Cup competition through its support of professional photographers, with the provision of the Kodak Press Photographic Centre. The centre aimed to cater to six hundred photographers over the course of the race.

As part of the marketing campaign for Kodachrome film, Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd also ran a competition during the 1987 race for the photographers; 'The Kodachrome Cup' which offered $US15,000 in prizes and the opportunity for the winning entrant to have their photograph featured as a Colorama in New York City in the United States of America, at either Grand Central Station or Times Square. The Kodachrome Cup was won by British photographer Jonathon Eastland with a photograph of the America II chasing French Kiss. Jonathon received $US10,000 and a crystal cup as his prize.

It is unclear how long Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd remained involved in the America's Cup, but the company did sponsor both of the Australian challengers for the 1992 America's Cup, the yachts 'The Spirit of Australia' and 'Challenge Australia'.

'Australian Kodakery', No 171, Jun 1985, p. 3 (HT 36015)

'Kodak News', No 182, Christmas, Dec 1986, p. 5 (HT 36026)

'Kodak News', No 185, Jul-Aug 1987, p. 12 (HT 36029)

'Kodak News', No 186, Sep-Oct 1987, p. 9 (HT 36051)

'Kodak News', No 210, Issue Six, Dec 1991, p. 12 (HT 36088)

'Australia II, 1983 winner of the America's Cup', Western Australian Museum, at: http://museum.wa.gov.au/research/collections/australia-ii/maritime-history-boats-and-watercraft/australia-ii-1983-winner-ame accessed: 15 Aug 2018

'http://collections.anmm.gov.au/objects/33873 accessed: 15 Aug 2018

"IN BRIEF Challenge defeated" The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) 31 January 1992: 27. Web. 31 Oct 2018 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118167336

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