When the America’s Cup was “the Cup.” The legend of three extraordinary men

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When the America’s Cup was the “Cup.” In 2017, the legendary America’s Cup Hall of Fame. (founded in 1992 as a wing of the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island, by Halsey Herreshoff, a four-time defender of the “old jug”), which features some 80 sailing legends who have made Cup history, is enriched with three new names: John Knox Marshall, Doug Peterson and Syd Fischer. The ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 5 in San Diego. Here are their stories.

american cupJOHN MARSHALL, A SCIENTIST IN THE SERVICE OF THE CUP
John Knox Marshall, born in 1942 in the States, was one of the most influential figures in the America’s Cup as his unique ability to fuse the art and science of navigation helped him win the Cup three times.

John Marshall at work in North Sails

Once on board as a straddler, in 1980 with Freedom, and twice as design team coordinator, in 1987 and 1988 with Star & Strinse. But there is more, to date Marshall has played a leading role in nine campaigns.

He also won an Olympic bronze medal on the Dragoons in 1972 as Donald Cohan’s bowman. A graduate in molecular genetics, he worked for 21 years at North Sails. In 1989 he founded the Partnership for America’s Cup Technology (PACT), which supported the 1992 Yankee campaign. During that time, he chaired a panel of designers who worked on the development of the AC Class, the tonnage regulations that were used for the Cup from 1992 to 2007.

american cupDOUG PETERSON, AN AUTODIDACT WITH A BRILLIANT MIND
Doug Peterson, American born in 1945, we know him well. Not least because it was he who signed Prada’s legendary “silver bullet,” that Luna Rossa that made us dream at the America’s Cup in 2000 (and, with less success, in 2003). He won the Cup twice, as a member of the America3 design team (1992) and Team New Zealand (1995).

american cup
Black Magic (NZL-32)

Said of him his former colleague Davi Egan: “Doug possesses a great talent for designing boats that are able to pass through waves. Any kind of waves!“. Her Black Magic’s performance in the 1995 Cup was truly off the charts: apart from the final (5-0) win against her countrymen, the New Zealand boat scored 42 wins out of 43 challenges with an average margin of victory of 3 minutes and 6 seconds. Peterson’s trump card at that juncture was the design of a hull with a narrower beam than those of the opposing teams and a mast positioned further aft.

In addition to his successes in the America’s Cup, Peterson is also known as the dominator of the IOR scene between the 1970s and 1980s. And to think that in terms of boat design, he was self-taught, influenced by his father, an aerospace engineer, and yacht designer Skip Calkins: “I started putting boats down on paper when I was 10 years old, and I never wanted to do anything else,” Doug reflects. Let’s just say that his achievements enhance his work far more than any honorary degree.

WORLD’S OLDEST OFFSHORE SAILOR
In America’s Cup’s 166-year history, only two individuals have put on five self-funded Cup campaigns. One is Sir Thomas Lipton, the other is Australian Syd Fischer.

american cupAt 90 years of age, Fischer is famous for launching the careers of some very great Australian sailors-Jimmy Spithill, Iain Murray, Hugh Treharne (tactician aboard Australia II in 1983). In addition to the Cup, Fischer is considered Australia’s most successful offshore sailor: he has won the Sydney Hobart, the Fastnet, the World One Tonner and has led six Australian campaigns at the Admiral’s Cup. And, when he can, he keeps going by boat: until recently at the Sydney Hobart, one of the toughest races, he could be seen aboard his 100-foot Ragamuffin: for the first time, in 2016, he opted to stay ashore!

AT THIS LINK ALL THE LEGENDS OF THE AMERICA CUP HALL OF FAME

SPEAKING OF HALL OF FAME, HERE’S OURS!

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