After winning the Admiral's Cup in 1979, Australia slumped to eighth in 1981 but bounced back somewhat in 1983 with a fourth. The 1985 trials series was held on Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay and in Bass Strait, and featured a number of new boats, including Alan Bond's new Apollo VI, the Dubois 40 Black Magic, Peter Kurt's new Farr 43 Drake's Prayer and Lou Abraham's latest 'Challenge' yacht, the Frers 43 Challenge III. Following his disappointing 1981 campaign in his original Frers 42 Hitchhiker (but with better success in 1983), Peter Briggs was back with a new Frers 40, Hitchhiker II.
Drake's Prayer, which had earlier retired from the 1984 Sydney-Hobart with cracks for'ard, was one of the top boats in the eight race series, and showed devastating speed reaching and running in moderate to fresh winds, and backed this with better than average performance elsewhere around the track. Her worst place was tenth in the first race when the minimum raters finished quickly on a freshening breeze. After that she won two and never finished lower than fifth.
|Sagacious (Farr 40) with Police Car to the left, and ex-German yacht Sudpack to the right|
|Scallywag II (Farr 40)|
|Dry White (right) in a close tussle with Intrigue|