The New York Yacht Club had held the America's Cup for 132 years. Nobody else in the world seemed capable or (maybe more accurately) interested in mounting a viable challenge. So every few years the NYYC would trot out this captain or that helming this boat or that and, yawn, they'd win the Cup, again.
That all changed in 1983 however. Alan Bond arrived in New York towing behind him a boat called Australia II which sported a winged keel that got the blue blood knickers at the NYYC in a right twist. They attempted to first have the boat disqualified because of the keel and when they were unsuccessful with that they tried to claim that the boat hadn't been built in Australia as the "Deed of Gift" required. That tack too was unsuccessful and the race was on.
Australia II proved to be everything the hypesters had claimed as it sailed (so to speak) through the challenger series without breaking a sweat. This set up a finals showdown with Dennis Conner in Liberty. No slouch himself Conner managed to go up 3-1 on the Aussie boat before they (the Aussies) got a few problems straightened out and came back to win the final 3 races and take the Cup 4-3, in the process bringing to an end the longest winning streak in sports history. The specter of someone besides NYYC taking the cup had created an unprecedented swell of popular interest in the races. In other words Dennis Conner had taken a pie in the face in front of the whole world and he was not about to forget it.
But none of that would change the fact that for one day in 1983 the Aussies ruled the sailing world.