Three new inductees into America’s Cup Hall of Fame
by Sail-World.com on 14 Aug 2013
Three new members of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame were inducted in a ceremony and dinner in San Francisco, timed to start with the start of the Semi-Finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
America’s Cup Hall of Fame - l. to r. Tom Whidden, Patrizio Bertelli, Gary Jobson, Alex Simmer, Grant Simmer, Sir Russell Coutts, Lucy Jewett, Malin Burnham, Bruno Trouble, Noel Robins daughters ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/
The event is one of the great traditions of every America’s Cup season, and recognizes those who have contributed so much over many decades to the history of the Cup.
Held in the fabulous setting of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, the function was co-hosted by the Herreshoff Marine Museum and Louis Vuitton.
Established in 1992 a selection panel chooses a small group of people once every Cup cycle that they consider to have shown outstanding ability, to be internationally recognized, to have character, to have performed and to have made significant contributions to the America's Cup.
To date over seventy members have been inducted into the America's Cup Hall of fame.
The America’s Cup Hall of Fame is part of the Herreshoff Marine Museum and a permanent display of all inductees can be seen in Bristol, Rhode Island. In addition, during this America's Cup cycle an exhibition of America’s Cup artefacts from the collection of the Herreshoff Marine Museum will be on display at the SFO Museum in the San Francisco Airport International Terminal.
The three is year’s Inductees are Lucy M. Jewett of San Francisco; Noel Robins of Perth; and Grant Simmer of Sydney.
Along with her late husband, George F. 'Fritz' Jewett, who is already a member of the Hall of Fame, Lucy Jewett has been a key figure within several America’s Cup defender and challenger syndicates.
She began her association with the Cup in 1974 when the Jewett’s became the owners of 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 Jewett’s 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 (1935-2003) skippered 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 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 1, 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 defence 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 was also a champion in Disabled Sailing collecting 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 (b. 1957) 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 has been involved in a variety of roles across no fewer than nine subsequent America’s Cup campaigns.
A co-owner of North Sails Australia for 17 years Simmer finally gave up sailmaking 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 defence later this year in San Francisco.