There was no shortage of sailing celebrity at the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Monday night. More than 200 of sailing’s finest attended the black-tie event, held at the De Young Museum in San Francisco and hosted by Louis Vuitton. ORACLE TEAM USA general manager Grant Simmer was honored during the evening event as one of three inductees in this year’s class.
The America’s Cup Hall of Fame recognizes individuals for outstanding achievement in the America’s Cup sailing competition.
Simmer joins an impressive list of 81 other inductees, including Ted Turner, Bill Koch and Dennis Conner.
“Growing up, my sailing icons were all skiff sailors – Bob Miller, and Bob Holmes. Later in my career, it was guys like Dennis Conner,” said Simmer.
In the 1983 America’s Cup, Connor was defeated in by the historic challenger Australia II in which Simmer was the 26-year-old navigator at the time. That win in the waters off Newport, R.I., ended the longest winning streak in the history of the sport (132 years).
With an impressive career in a variety of roles across nine subsequent campaigns, Simmer attributes his love the sport to early days growing up sailing with his father.
“My father was very involved in my sailing growing up since there was very little coaching offered by the clubs at that time. When I was learning to sail my first trapeze boat, my dad would come out as my crew – he was an exceptional engineer and we spent many hours modifying boats,” he said.
Today, Simmer brings to ORACLE TEAM USA the pedigree of three America’s Cup victories in a career that spans three decades.
“I have the perfect job really in that I still love sailing, I love the technology involved with the sport today, and I enjoy the management aspects and being part of a team,” Simmer said.
Joining Simmer in this year’s class were Lucy M. Jewett, who began her association with the Cup in 1974 and currently serves on the board of the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee; and Noel Robbins, who skippered the 12-meter Australia in the 1977 America’s Cup against Ted Turner’s Courageous.
The honor of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame induction came on the eve of the semifinals for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Challenger Selection Series for the America’s Cup. Candidates eligible for consideration include skippers, afterguard, crew, designers, builders, organizers, syndicate managers, supporters, chroniclers, race managers, and other individuals of merit.
– Chrissy Coolidge