Ted Turner is credited with drawing more attention to America’s Cup competition than any other person in the long history of the Cup. He had proved himself in ocean racing, winning most of the world’s prestige races including the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit twice. In 1974 he was at the helm of the contender MARINER which was eliminated early in the defender trials. Many credit the disastrous 1974 MARINER campaign with sparking Ted Turner’s success aboard COURAGEOUS in 1977. COURAGEOUS dominated the final trials, giving Ted Turner a personal triumph.
The Cup races were a disappointment, with COURAGEOUS winning four straight races against AUSTRALIA. After the start, AUSTRALIA never led at any point in any of the four races. Ted Turner, the last true amateur to win the America’s Cup, glories in head-to-head competition. He came back with COURAGEOUS I in 1980, hoping to make her the first three-time defender. FREEDOM, the latest creation of Sparkman & Stephens, sailed by Dennis Conner was too strong an opponent.