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America's Cup- Simmer one of three inductees for Hall of Fame

by Herreshoff Marine Museum on 9 May 2013
Grant Simmer’s first America’s Cup win was as navigator aboard Australia II in 1983 . ..
The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America's Cup Hall of Fame have announced three new inductees into the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

Grant Simmer, Noel Robins and Lucy M. Jewett, all began their America's Cup associations within teams in the 12-Metre era, two of them subsequently became instrumental in America's Cup event organization, two of them are still heavily involved today, and two of them have been Cup sailors as well as managers.

Established in 1992 the America's Cup Hall of Fame celebrates and recognizes the achievements of individuals within the sport of sailing and in particular the America's Cup competition. On a regular basis several personalities are identified by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee to be inducted. 2013 sees three more individuals chosen to join the ranks of those already inducted.

The three will be inducted at a black tie dinner in San Francisco on Monday, 5th August at the de Young Museum in San Francisco during the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Selection Series.

The first person to be inducted this year is an American woman. Lucy Jewett, who has been active in the America's Cup almost continuously since 1974, becomes only the second woman to enter the Hall of Fame.

The next of the three 2013 inductions is made posthumously to Australian Noel Robins, who was active over the period spanning 1977 through 1987 initially as a sailor and lastly as an organizer; the final inductee is fellow Australian Grant Simmer, who has won the America's Cup three times over 30 years.

Lucy M. Jewett (USA): Along with her late husband, George F. 'Fritz' Jewett, who is already a member of the Hall of Fame, Lucy has been a key figure within several America's Cup defender and challenger syndicates.

In 1974, she began her association with the Cup when the Jewetts became the owners of the 12-Metre yacht Intrepid. Known as 'The People's Boat' through the many small contributions supporting its campaign, Intrepid came within one race of becoming the Defender. It was only a broken running backstay in the final race of the defender trials against Courageous that ended the campaign.

The Jewetts then backed the winning Dennis Conner-skippered Freedom 12-Metre syndicate in 1980, as well as Conner's subsequent campaigns in 1983, 1987 and 1988. Throughout these efforts Lucy was the quiet leader among members of the crew, their families, the team principals, sponsors and supporters. She returned to the fray again in 2000 with Paul Cayard's and St Francis Yacht Club's AmericaOne Challenge.

Currently, she serves on the board of the San Francisco America's Cup Organizing Committee, the organization responsible for raising the funds to support San Francisco's hosting of the 34th America's Cup season.

Her long involvement and her passion for the event and its people have made her an iconic figure in the America's Cup world where she is incredibly well respected as both an advisor and mentor.

Noel Robins, OAM (AUS) (b 1935 - d 2003): Robins skippered the 12 Metre Australia in the 1977 America's Cup Match which was sailed against Ted Turner's Courageous. In 1980 he returned with Alan Bond's challenging team as a coach.

Seven years later, following Bond's successful 1983 Australia II challenge, when the Royal Perth Yacht Club needed to organize the first ever America's Cup season outside of the United States, Robins as Executive Director applied masterful management to the project which resulted in the magnificent organization of the 26th America's Cup in Fremantle, Australia. That event in 1986-87 is widely credited to this day as probably the greatest season of America's Cup sport ever.

Robins' own lifetime sailing achievements at the very highest level were made even more remarkable by the fact that he had to overcome the handicap of becoming a walking quadriplegic following a car accident at the age of just 21.

'Stumbles', as he was universally known among his fellow sailors, won five Australian National titles in addition to 13 State titles across a variety of classes. It was his success in the Soling class that drew him to the attention of Alan Bond who made him skipper of Australia.

Robins took the skipper's role extremely seriously. Recognizing gaps in the talent pool in Australia necessary to be competitive he selected an American match racing expert, Andy Rose, to be his tactician for the latter stages of the Challenger Selection Series. Racing against France I, Gretel II and Sverige and eventually beating them, Australia, under Robins' leadership, became the Challenger for the Match. But Ted Turner's Courageous was better prepared and battle ready and defeated the Australians.

When the impossible dream of beating the Defender in a Match became reality for the first time in 1983 Robins, starting with a completely clean sheet, totally restructured the harbor facilities in Fremantle, arranging the various sites for the bases for the 13 challengers and four defense syndicates. He also incorporated the shore-side event facilities, including the Louis Vuitton International Media Centre, for what proved to be the biggest and one of the best America's Cup events to date.

Noel's post America's Cup sailing career included a win in both the Admiral's Cup and the Two Ton Cup in 1981. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Sailability Program for disabled sailors at the Royal Perth YC, and a commissioner of the Swan River Trust. In 2000 he collected a gold medal at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, an achievement that also secured him the Medal of the Order of Australia. His life ended prematurely in 2003 in a second motor vehicle accident.

Grant Simmer (AUS) (b. 1957): Simmer has won the America's Cup three times in a career that spans four decades. In 1983 Simmer was the young, 26-year-old navigator on board the historic challenger Australia II, the boat that achieved the impossible dream and broke the New York Yacht Club's 132-year long grip on the America's Cup.

Since that famous victory Simmer could fairly be accused of having made a career of the America's Cup as he has been involved in a variety of roles across no fewer than nine subsequent campaigns.

A co-owner of North Sails Australia for 17 years Simmer finally gave up managing the sailmaking business in 2000 to become Design Coordinator for the Swiss America's Cup Challenger Alinghi. The ensuing match in 2003 against Team New Zealand saw him collect his second Louis Vuitton Cup win and his second America's Cup winner's medal before moving up to assume the position of Alinghi Co-Managing Director and Design Team Coordinator, and winning his third Cup in 2007.

Not to be put off by his team's defeat in 2010 against BMW Oracle Racing's wing-masted monster trimaran, Simmer, one of the most highly regarded, competitive and sought after personalities in the Cup's long history moved in 2012 to take up responsibilities as General Manager of Oracle Team USA, a role that now gives him day-to-day operational responsibility for the America's Cup defense later this year in San Francisco.

The America's Cup Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, jointly organized by the Herreshoff Marine Museum and Louis Vuitton, will take place in San Francisco on the evening of Monday, 5th August at the de Young Museum in San Francisco during the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Selection Series.
Herreshoff website

Background to the America's Cup Hall of Fame:

The America’s Cup Hall of Fame celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding sailors, leaders and innovators by inducting them into the Hall of Fame at extraordinary ceremonies held in exciting venues around the world. These ceremonies are truly notable events, drawing the best and brightest of the sport to honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions to yachting’s most distinguished competition.

The Herreshoff Marine Museum, located in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, is a maritime museum dedicated to the history of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the America's Cup. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (1878-1945) was most notable for producing fast sailing yachts, including eight America's Cup defenders, and steam-powered vessels. The museum, situated near Narragansett Bay on the grounds where the manufacturing company once stood, has a collection of over sixty boats including Nathanael Greene Herreshoff's Clara, built in 1887, Harold Vanderbilt's Trivia, and the 1992 ACC yacht, Defiant.

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