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AMERICA'S CUP 1987 : Fremantle Good Home Away From Home

January 30, 1987|RICH ROBERTS | EDITOR'S NOTE: Stories for this special America's Cup section were written by Rich Roberts, Times staff writer, who has been on assignment in Fremantle, Australia, since late November. Roberts, a recreational sailor, has written extensively about the sport and covered all classes of sailing for The Times during the 1984 Olympics. He will report on the final series, along with Times' sports columnist Mike Downey.

FREMANTLE, Australia — For the first time, Americans had to go halfway around the world to compete for the America's Cup, creating new logistical and human problems.

Dennis Conner thinks his Stars & Stripes program has licked both.

"As far as dealing with the psychological pressures of being away from home, with a lot of the media and visitors from America here it wasn't really a problem," Conner said.

"And bear in mind, while we were racing in America for the last three America's Cup campaigns that I've been involved in, we've all been campaigning these series away from our homes, anyway, so we're used to being away.

"Newport may sound like it's close to you, but Newport, Rhode Island is just as far away as Sydney is from Perth.

"The Australian people seem very similar to Americans and particularly Southern Californians: very warm and friendly with a nice sense of humor. We've been made to feel very much at home and popular here. I think we have more than our fair share of support from the Australian people in our series with New Zealand."

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