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America's Cup Hall of Fame recognises four new Inductees at Cowes

by Sail-World.com/nz 1 Sep 2018 16:31 PDT 2 September 2018
Hall of Fame Induction Ken McAlpine. Sir Ben Ainslie, Ken McAlpine and Steve Tsuchiya - America's Cup Hall of Fame Induction, Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes IOW, August 31, 2018 © Carlo Borlenghi

The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America’s Cup Hall of Fame inducted John K. Marshall, Doug Peterson, Syd Fischer, and Ken McAlpine into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame on August 31, 2018 at the Royal Yacht Squadron, in Cowes, England.

The Induction Ceremony and Dinner, presented by Prada, also honored Sir Richard Sutton, 5th Bt, the charter- recipient of a new medal, named in his honor, awarded to those who exemplify the spirit of friendly competition in the America’s Cup.

John Knox Marshall (United States) (b. 1942)

John Marshall exemplifies the elite level sailor who uses a brilliant technical mind to make boats go faster. His remarkable ability to blend the art and science of sailing helped him win the America’s Cup three times—once as a sailor, and, twice, as leader of Dennis Conner’s design/technology team. Conner remarked that Marshall “is the guy who talks the languages of both the eggheads and the jocks.”

Marshall competed in nine Cup campaigns, for the first five as a crew member starting in 1974 aboard Intrepid. In 1980, he had his first Cup win as Freedom’s mainsail trimmer. His greatest victory, however, was in 1987 as design coordinator for the Stars & Stripes campaign in Australia where he brought together aerospace technology and skilled yacht designers. In 1988, he earned his third Cup victory managing design for the wing-sailed Stars & Stripes catamaran.

He also played a major role in the Cup’s IACC era, chairing a five-nation panel to write the new rule, used from 1992 to 2007, and later forming a research partnership to provide IACC baseline data to U.S. defense teams. After 1992, Marshall founded the Young America syndicate which competed in the 1995 and 2000 events.

Marshall could always find ways to make a dinghy, keel boat or ocean racer go faster. A collegiate champion, he went on to win North American Championships in the 5o5 and Enterprise. At the 1972 Olympics, Marshall won a bronze in the Dragon Class. Racing extensively offshore as well, he won the Two Ton and Maxi World Championships as tactician/sail trimmer.

Marshall specialized in molecular genetics in college earning his A.B. from Harvard in 1963 and conducted gene research at the Rockefeller Institute. He studied mathematics and fluid dynamics at the Stevens Institute of Technology to help understand the science of sailboats. His broad technical education was a major asset as he spent most of his career overseeing projects that advanced sail, foil and hull design. Marshall joined North Sails in 1969, and for the next 23 years worked there. As its Director of R&D and as President/CEO he oversaw advances in sail design, materials and construction.

Doug Peterson (United States) (1945-2017)

Doug Peterson, a two-time winner of the America’s Cup, was a member of the design teams for America3 (winner in 1992), Team New Zealand (winner in 1995), and Luna Rossa Challenge (2000 and 2003). Peterson’s brilliant understanding of the art of yacht design and a strong grasp of measurement rules made him one of the best naval architects of his generation.

“He had a huge talent for designing a boat that can go through waves—any kind of waves. Plus, his knowledge of yachting was second to none,” declared former colleague, David Egan.

Peterson’s talent is best exemplified by his work as a lead designer of Team New Zealand’s Black Magic (NZL-32), one of the most dominant yachts in America’s Cup history. Black Magic’s boat- speed, estimated to be about three and half minutes faster on the Cup course than the American defender, helped Team New Zealand deliver a 5-0 victory in the 1995 match. Including the match, Team New Zealand achieved an incredible 42-1 record with an average margin of victory of 3:06. Black Magic’s advantage in speed was due in part to Peterson’s decision to design her with a narrow beam and a mast positioned further aft than her conventional counterparts, establishing a new paradigm in America’s Cup Class yacht design. Peterson further attributed the success of the boat to using a total approach to design: “We started on a path with the hull, but then interconnected other components like mast and sails, always looking at it as a whole. That is our strength."

In addition to his success in the America's Cup, Peterson is also well known for dominating the IOR offshore racing scene in the 70's and 80's and for designing scores of fast, popular and successful one-off and production racing and cruising boats. He was a self-taught naval architect whose influences included his father—an aerospace engineer—and yacht designer Wendell “Skip” Calkins. Peterson reflects, "I started putting boats down on paper when I was 10, and have never wanted to do anything else."

Syd Fischer (Australia) (b. 1927)

Australia’s Syd Fischer stands among Sir Thomas Lipton and Patrizio Bertelli, as the only yachtsmen to have mounted five self-funded challenges for the America’s Cup in the event’s 166- year history.

Now aged 91, Fischer is also noted for launching the America’s Cup careers of some of today’s most famous Australian yachtsmen, in particular Jimmy Spithill, Iain Murray and Hugh Treharne, who was tactician aboard the 1983 Cup winner, Australia II.

Fischer entered the America’s Cup arena in 1983 with his challenge contender, Advance. Then, for the Cup defense in Fremantle in 1986-87, he campaigned the whimsically named Steak’n’Kidney (rhyming slang for his home city, Sydney). In 1992, it was Challenge Australia; in 1995, Sydney ’95, and, in 2000, Young Australia, with Spithill at the helm. Fischer, who on many occasions sailed aboard his Cup yachts, also took a direct interest in the administration of the America’s Cup as a member of the Challenger of Record Committee.

Outside of the America’s Cup, Syd Fischer is recognized as Australia’s most successful offshore sailor. He has claimed victory in two of the world’s major ocean racing events–the Sydney to Hobart and the Fastnet race, won the One Ton Cup world championship and led six Australian campaigns for the Admiral’s Cup in England. His achievements in yachting have earned him the Order of the British Empire (OBE), was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), inducted into the New South Wales Sports Hall of Fame, and was twice-named Australia’s Yachtsman of the Year.

Ken McAlpine (Australia) (b. 1951)

Ken McAlpine has been at the heart of the competition for the America’s Cup for over 30 years, witnessing the America’s Cup evolve from the 12-Metre Class through the America’s Cup Class to the foiling catamarans of the 35th America’s Cup Match. During this period, he measured more America’s Cup yachts than any other person in the history of the Cup. In this role, he demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the class rules; and, he also assisted in the development of the 12-Metre Class rule and the AC Class rule. McAlpine’s love for the sea developed during his childhood in Sydney, Australia, and so it was natural that he went on to train as a naval architect. His involvement with the America’s Cup began in the seventies, and in 1983, on behalf of the Australian Yachting Federation, he was appointed measurer for Australia II and Challenge 12. Following the success of Australia II, McAlpine was appointed a member of the Measurement Committee for the Cup’s defense in Fremantle, Australia.

McAlpine has lived in a world of secrecy and discretion: he was often the first to learn about loopholes found by design teams and was often faced with the extraordinary pressure to safeguard the deepest secrets of Cup yacht designs. He has ruled on complex technical matters such as Australia II’s winged keel and Team New Zealand’s “Hula” hull. Few people realize what it means to deal with the brightest minds in the sport lead by the wealthiest men on earth who, each in their own way, are experts in exerting pressure to have matters swing their way.

“Ken McAlpine is one of the unsung heroes of the America’s Cup”, said America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chair Steve Tsuchiya. “You can’t do what Ken did for as long as he did it without being both supremely talented and incredibly diplomatic!”

During his long America’s Cup tenure, Ken McAlpine has used his naval architectural and engineering skills, along with tact, patience, and interpersonal skills to deliver a playing field as level as possible within the confines of the sport. His dedication and integrity in performing these tasks had a profound peacekeeping and stabilizing influence in the ever-growing complexity of the technology-driven competition for the America’s Cup.

The Sir Richard Francis Sutton Medal

Charter Recipient: Sir Richard Francis Sutton, 5th Bt (United Kingdom) (1853 –1891)

The Medal: The America’s Cup Hall of Fame has instituted the Sir Richard Francis Sutton Medal to recognize and encourage the spirit of the America’s Cup, as set down by the founding donors in their Deed of Gift “to promote friendly competition between foreign countries.” This medal will be awarded from time to time, to persons or entities that have exemplified that spirit, in the course of their association with the America’s Cup.

Sir Richard F. Sutton, 5th Bt: Sir Richard was the quintessential sportsman of the Victorian era. In 1879, he was elected to the Royal Yacht Squadron, following the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

In September 1885, Sir Richard’s Genesta, a 97-foot racing cutter, competed for the America’s Cup, representing the Royal Yacht Squadron—in its first challenge for the America’s Cup. Genesta faced the New York Yacht Club’s defender, Puritan, for a best-of-three match, held on courses near New York City. During the match, on September 8, as the iconic Lawson History of the America’s Cup records, “there occurred an incident rare in the history of the Cup races, and, in view of the events that followed in a few years, worthy of being commemorated in bronze.” When maneuvering for the start, Puritan failed to clear Genesta, resulting in a collision. Within minutes of the collision, the race committee disqualified Puritan, which was on port tack at the time of the accident. However, Sir Richard, in an act of sportsmanship, refused to accept a win by default. Instead, he informed the race committee: “We are very much obliged to you, but we don’t want it in that way. We want a race; we don’t want a walkover.” This famous act of sportsmanship is now commemorated in bronze and is immortalized by having Sir Richard’s name forever attached to the medal to be awarded to participants in the America’s Cup who have upheld the spirit of friendly competition.

Genesta went on to lose to Puritan in two races, but Sir Richard won the respect and admiration of his competitors and the public. And, before returning home, Genesta competed in three more races in New York, winning all of them including the Cape May Challenge Cup and the Brenton Reef Cup.

About the America’s Cup Hall of Fame

The America’s Cup Hall of Fame was founded in 1992, as an arm of the Herreshoff Marine Museum by Halsey Herreshoff, a four-time America's Cup defender and grandson of legendary yacht designer Nathanael G. Herreshoff. Over eighty legends of the Cup have been inducted into the Hall. Candidates eligible for consideration include members of the crew, designers, builders, syndicate leaders, supporters, chroniclers, and other individuals of merit. Each nominee is judged on the basis of outstanding ability, international recognition, character, performance, and contributions to the sport. The members of the Selection Committee are persons intimate with the history and traditions of America's Cup and committed to the integrity of the Hall of Fame.

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.

Website: www.herreshoff.org

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