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New members for America’s Cup Hall of Fame

FEB. 9 -- America’s Cup yacht designer Ben Lexcen and sailor Stephen A. Van Dyck will be inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame at a ceremony to be held in October. The inductees were named in a statement released on Tuesday.

“The selection of these two outstanding America’s Cup individuals fits perfectly with the mission of the Hall of Fame to elevate only the very best to the honored status for the America’s Cup,” Halsey C. Herreshoff, president of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, said in the statement. The Hall of Fame is located at the site of the HerreshoffMarineMuseum in Bristol, R.I.

Lexcen, who was born in 1938 in New South Wales, Australia, left school at age 14 and built his first boat at 16, the release says. He began designing light-displacement ocean racers and designed Alan Bond’s 12-Meter, Southern Cross, for the 1974 America’s Cup. Lexcen continued to design America’s Cup yachts through 1987. One highlight was 1983’s unusually small hull over an upside-down keel sprouting winglets, called Australia II, which beat Dennis Conner’s Liberty. Lexcen died of a heart attack in 1988.

Van Dyck, who was born in 1943 in Rochester, N.Y., learned how to sail in the Southport, Conn., area under the tutelage of America’s Cup Hall of Fame member Briggs Cunningham, according to the release. He sailed on Cup defenders Constellation in 1964 as a trimmer, and on Intrepid in 1970 as a tactician. In the late 1970s Van Dyck became involved in Dennis Conner’s 1980 America’s Cup campaign that resulted in a successful defense with the yacht Freedom. Van Dyck retired from the America’s Cup in 1983.

The Rolex America’s Cup Hall of Fame 14th Annual Induction Ceremony is set to take place Oct. 26 at the Union League Club in New York City.

— Jason Fell