In 1962, Sir Frank Packer issued a challenge for the America’s Cup through the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. When the Duke of Edinburgh proposed a Commonwealth effort, rather than a strict Australian challenge, Sir Frank resisted, indicating that although he might not improve on the English efforts, “every now and again you have to give the young fellow in the family his head.” Packer was already a famous sportsman when he mounted his first challenge with the 12-meter yacht GRETEL. Having made his fortune in newspapers, magazines, television, and communications, he had a plethora of resources available to him in his quest for the Cup. For this challenge, he chartered VIM as a trial horse and also used the towing tank at the Stevens Institute of Technology. His 1962 challenge put life back in the Cup. Along with Baron Bich, who was celebrated for inspiring non-Anglo-Saxon Europeans to participate in yacht racing, Sir Frank Packer led the challenge of the Antipodes and produced an equally significant impact on America’s Cup competition.
Packer’s second attempt at the Cup with GRETEL in 1970 marked him as the progenitor of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron challenges. His peppery nature was legendary in Cup challenge history. On his final day of racing, the day of the famous protest, his message to the America’s Cup Committee concluded “…This is the last you will hear from me, good luck.”