“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 1964.
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 the globe.