(FORTUNE Magazine) – The America's Cup, the most coveted trophy in yacht racing, sits in splendor in the Royal Perth Yacht Club, the first time it has rested outside the U.S. in its 135-year history. As befits a badge of national honor, the garish silver knickknack has its own well-guarded display case. Early next year Australia will defend the Cup in the Indian Ocean near Perth in a challenge series expected to cost the club $3.7 million. How can an organization that charges members $186 a year in dues possibly raise the cash? Call on American sports promoter Mark McCormack, that's how. McCormack's International Management Group has sold the Cup defense as ideal for corporate marketing campaigns. General Motors has climbed aboard; so have IBM and Westpac, a big Australian bank. Each paid $217,000 to sponsor the extravaganza. White Horse Scotch is the ''official whisky'' of the event. Other companies are shelling out licensing fees to put the Defence of the America's Cup logo on neckties, cock-tail shakers, even aircraft. According to a four-volume study commissioned by the West Australian state government, the America's Cup hoopla will generate about $375 million in spending by governments, visitors, and yacht syndicates. Some $150 million of that will stay in Perth. Says Ernie Taylor, the local representative for International Management Group: ''I hope we can defend the Cup at least once more and pay off some mortgages around here.'' One chap who doesn't worry about mortgages is Perth-based entrepreneur Alan Bond, who backed the Aussie victory in 1983. Bond's spectacular victory at sea -- it was his fourth run at the Cup -- made him a national hero, the most famous businessman in Australia. And it lent new status to the sometimes mercurial Bond Group, which brews beer, runs radio and TV stations, and invests in real estate and minerals. Says Bond, who owns half the company: ''If we have the determination to win the Cup, people figure we have the management to succeed with the company.'' Bond claims that the benefits have rippled throughout his empire. % International bankers and investors ''show more awareness'' of the Bond Group, according to its effusive chairman. Some even approach him for joint ventures. One of Bond's companies, Airship Industries Ltd., has teamed up with Westinghouse to seek a U.S. Navy contract for a giant dirigible that would serve as an airborne fleet command center. And the Cup win has helped Bond sell more suds abroad -- including Perth-brewed Black Swan Lager, which he sells in 33 countries. He says, ''We're able to promote our beer internationally on the back of the America's Cup.'' An immigrant from Britain who dropped out of school at 14, Bond began his career painting signs in Perth while he studied accounting at night. He quickly noticed that the properties bearing his ''for sale'' signs were sold within a few months. Inspired, he scraped together a modest bankroll and began trading in real estate. By 21 he was a millionaire and firmly convinced that, as he says, ''I was smarter than the people I painted signs for.'' Bond, who is worth an estimated $124 million, has moved in and out of many businesses over the years, but most consistently he has brewed beer. Swan Brewery was his first beermaking venture. Last year he bought Castlemaine Tooheys, a brewer in Brisbane, and Pittsburgh Brewing Co. in the U.S. The result was the Bond Group's highest profit in a decade. Earnings rose 361% to $74.8 million on sales of $1.3 billion for the year ended June 30. The spending spree saddled the corporation with $1.2 billion in debt, which Bond reduced by issuing new stock and selling off a Coca-Cola bottling franchise and some hotels. Sitting in his Perth office, surrounded by French Impressionist art, Bond is a happy man. Referring to a Manet on the wall, he says in an accent that verges on Cockney, ''I paid more than $2 million for it at Sotheby's several years ago.'' Its name? He jumps up to consult a catalogue and announces, ''La promenade.'' He has a better handle on his goals for Bond Group: doubling sales and profits within two years. Bond figures half that growth will come from international activities, primarily in Britain, the U.S., and China. He readily admits that his goals are extraordinarily ambitious, but he likens his plan to the quest for the America's Cup. Says he: ''That took us five years, and it showed that nothing is impossible.''