A Letter From the Publisher: Feb. 9, 1987

Soon after Australia won the America's Cup in 1983, TIME Correspondent John Dunn, based in Melbourne, flew to Fremantle, where this year's competition was scheduled to be held. "I had not been there before because there had never been any reason to go," says Dunn. "Fremantle was a fading city, tired and tatty, with peeling paint and broken-down buildings."

During the next three years, Dunn made nine visits to Fremantle and watched the city, once a thriving colonial port, regain its past vibrancy as it played host to thousands of spectators. After deciding in December that the four-hour plane trip from...