“A keel to capture the Cup?” In the summer of 1983, that Boat International headline for Peter Campbell’s article about Australia II must have seemed very optimistic. The New York Yacht Club had bolted down the Auld Mug in a locked cabinet, having jealously guarded the most coveted trophy in sailing for 132 years.

Now we know how prescient that headline would prove, as the ‘Winged Wonder’, the wing-keeled and highly manoeuvrable Australia II would go on to win the 1983 America’s Cup 4-3 from Dennis Conner’s Liberty.

It is surely no coincidence that 1983 was the first occasion of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the elimination series designed to produce a challenger strong enough to overcome the in-built advantages of the defender. That summer in Newport, seven challengers came to do battle, with three of them from Australia - Challenge 12, Advance and Australia II. Canada, France 3 and the Italian Azzurra were there, as was Peter de Savary’s Victory 83 which lost to Australia II in the challenger final.

Some of the old names from that era are still involved today in the 34th America’s Cup. Skipper of France 3, Bruno Troublé, was the man who introduced Louis Vuitton to the world of the America’s Cup, who created the Louis Vuitton Cup and who is still working with the French luxury brand this summer in San Francisco. The helmsman of Advance was a 24-year-old talented skiff sailor from Sydney, and 30 years later Iain Murray is the regatta director of the 34th America’s Cup.

Looking back at 1983, Australia II’s victory really did prove to be the turning point in America’s Cup history. After 132 years of New York Yacht Club impregnability, four winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup have gone on to seize the America’s Cup from the defender. The inception of the Louis Vuitton Cup has helped create a much more balanced contest between the challenger and the defender.

But in 2013, the Louis Vuitton Cup is not in a healthy state. With Artemis Racing still hurriedly completing the assembly of its second AC72 catamaran and its replacement wing rig, there will only be two teams ready for the start of the challenger series in early July - Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand. In the past 30 years, the cost of mounting an America’s Cup campaign has gone through the roof, and the lack of challengers is a direct and unfortunate result.

And what of all those Australians, three teams of them, who were competing 30 years ago? Well, there may not be a team flying the Southern Cross above its hangar in San Francisco, but the defender - Oracle Team USA - with just one prominent American on its sailing crew, has a great number of Antipodeans, and Australians in particular. James Spithill is the Australian skipper and fellow Sydneysider Grant Simmer is the general manager of the American team. If Simmer helps Oracle to victory this September, it will come exactly thirty Septembers after he navigated Australia II to victory in Newport, Rhode Island, as a 26-year-old rookie.

Another interesting parallel between 1983 and 2013 is the importance of underwater appendages. The winged keel of Australia II was shrouded in mystery, cunningly painted to look like a conventional keel from above the water and carefully skirted to protect from prying eyes whenever the boat was lifted out. This time it is the Kiwis who stole a march on the opposition by devising a way of getting their AC72 to hydrofoil above the water. The unfortunate difference for the Kiwis is that there was no way of hiding their great innovation, and so Oracle has been fast to catch up on foiling technology. Although Emirates Team New Zealand has refused to engage in any line-up with Oracle on San Francisco Bay, the word is that the second-generation Oracle AC72 looks faster than the Kiwi boat. It looks like 2013 is going to be a good year for the defender, although most people assumed the same 30 years ago.