"Gentleman Jim", they call him that is,
until they race against him. A fierce competitor,
mild mannered Jim Hardy is a life long sailor and
one of Australia's favorite America's Cup heroes.
Hardy was raised on the water by a family of sailors.
His father died when Jim was six, leaving him a leaky
old 12 foot sailboat named MERMAID. He won his first
national championship on Flying Dutchmen at age 16,
then represented Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in
Returning home to Australia after taking third at
the World Championships "Gentleman Jim"
stopped in Newport to watch the America's Cup races.
The whole scene consumed Hardy, driving him to become
absorbed in every major Australian America's Cup effort
since. In 1970 Hardy took command of GRETEL II in
the challenge against Bill Ficker and the Cup Defender
of 1967, INTREPID. Despite losing the match after
a controversial collision and protest, Hardy's spirit
was hardly broken. In 1974, Hardy skippered SOUTHERN
CROSS against Ted Hood's COURAGEOUS and skippered
AUSTRALIA in 1980.
Hardy was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and became
Sir James Hardy in 1981. In the same year, Hardy was
honored as ''Australian Sportsman of the Year.''
As sailing advisor to John Bertrand and Alan Bond
aboard AUSTRALIA II, he helped bring the Cup down
under in 1983. Sir Jim Hardy's passion for Cup competition
and his impeccable sportsmanship are admired across