26 September 1983

Australia II wins the America’s Cup, ending the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year domination of the race.

Australia II’s victory in the America’s Cup is a significant moment in the history of sailing and sports in Australia. The America’s Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious yacht racing competitions in the world, and it had been dominated by the United States for over a century until Australia II’s historic win in 1983.

The America’s Cup Tradition: The America’s Cup is a sailing race that dates back to 1851 when it was first held around the Isle of Wight, England. Since then, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) had successfully defended the cup for 132 years, making it the longest winning streak in sports history. The event had gained a reputation as the “oldest trophy in international sport.”

Australia’s Challenge: Australia had been trying to challenge for the America’s Cup for many years but had never been successful. In 1983, the Royal Perth Yacht Club, representing Australia, entered a challenging yacht named Australia II in the competition. The yacht was skippered by John Bertrand.

Innovation and the Winged Keel: Australia II was unique in its design, featuring a revolutionary keel known as the “winged keel.” This design, created by engineer Ben Lexcen, was a secret weapon. It had horizontal wings at the bottom of the keel, which provided greater stability and improved performance in various wind conditions. The design was kept a closely guarded secret until the competition.

The Race: The 1983 America’s Cup took place in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. Australia II faced the defending champion, Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner. The best-of-seven series was intense and closely contested. Australia II won the first two races, but Liberty fought back to even the series at 2-2.

Historic Victory: The pivotal moment came in the fifth race. Australia II was behind Liberty but managed to overtake the American yacht. In a thrilling finish, Australia II crossed the finish line first, taking a 3-2 lead in the series. The Australian team went on to win the sixth race as well, securing a historic victory.

End of the Streak: Australia II’s victory ended the 132-year winning streak held by the NYYC. The winged keel design was revealed, and it became an iconic symbol of Australian innovation and determination.

Celebration: Australia celebrated the victory with great enthusiasm. The crew of Australia II became national heroes, and their achievement had a profound impact on the sport of sailing in Australia, inspiring a new generation of sailors.

26 September 1580

Sir Francis Drake complete his circumnavigation of the Earth.

English seaman Francis Drake returns to Plymouth, England, in the Golden Hind, becoming the first British navigator to sail the earth.

On December 13, 1577, Drake set out from England with five ships on a mission to raid Spanish holdings on the Pacific coast of the New World. After crossing the Atlantic, Drake abandoned two of his ships in South America and then sailed into the Straits of Magellan with the remaining three. A series of devastating storms besieged his expedition in the treacherous straits, wrecking one ship and forcing another to return to England. Only the Golden Hind reached the Pacific Ocean, but Drake continued undaunted up the western coast of South America, raiding Spanish settlements and capturing a rich Spanish treasure ship.

Drake then continued up the western coast of North America, searching for a possible northeast passage back to the Atlantic. Reaching as far north as present-day Washington before turning back, Drake paused near San Francisco Bay in June 1579 to repair his ship and prepare for a journey across the Pacific. Calling the land “Nova Albion,” Drake claimed the territory for Queen Elizabeth I.

In July, the expedition set off across the Pacific, visiting several islands before rounding Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and returning to the Atlantic Ocean. On September 26, 1580, the Golden Hind returned to Plymouth, England, bearing its rich captured treasure and valuable information about the world’s great oceans. In 1581, Queen Elizabeth I knighted Drake during a visit to his ship. The most renowned of the Elizabethan seamen, he later played a crucial role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The explorer died 1596 at the age of 56.

26 September 1905

Albert Einstein publishes his paper on the special theory of relativity.


In 1905, Albert Einstein, a 26-year-old patent clerk, wrote a paper that revolutionized science. In his Special Theory of Relativity, Einstein explained that the speed of light was constant but that both space and time were relative to the position of the observer.

For two years, Einstein was an outcast of sorts, and was very lucky to finally get a job in 1902 at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. Although he worked six days a week, the new job allowed Einstein to get married and start his family. He also spent his limited free time working on his doctorate.

Despite his future fame, Einstein seemed an undistinguished, 26-year-old, paper pusher in 1905. What most did not realize was that in between work and his family life, Einstein worked diligently on his scientific theories. These theories would soon change how we viewed our world.

In 1905, Einstein wrote five articles and had them published in the prestigious Annalen der Physik . In one of these papers, “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Koerper”, Einstein detailed his Special Theory of Relativity.

There were two main parts of his theory. First, Einstein discovered that the speed of light is constant. Secondly, Einstein determined that space and time are not absolutes; rather, they are relative to the position of the observer.

For example, if a young boy were to roll a ball across the floor of a moving train, how fast was the ball moving?
To the boy, it might look like the ball was moving at 1 mile per hour. However, to someone watching the train go by, the ball would appear to be moving the one mile per hour plus the speed of the train. To someone watching the event from space, the ball would be moving the one mile per hour the boy had noticed, plus the 40 miles an hour of the speed of the train, plus the speed of the Earth.