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Three new names in Cup Hall of Fame

West Coast industrialist George “Fritz” Jewett Jr., Australian 12 Meter designer Alan Payne, and Jack Sutphen, who made his mark sailing trial horse yachts against Dennis Conner, were inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in October.

None of the three men inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in October ever skippered or crewed on a yacht in the Cup finals. But West Coast industrialist George “Fritz” Jewett Jr., Australian 12 Meter designer Alan Payne, and Jack Sutphen, who made his mark sailing trial horse yachts against Dennis Conner, are said to have each “played a crucial role in America’s Cup campaigns during much of the modern era of the Cup.”

The 13th annual induction ceremony, a black-tie dinner affair, was held at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco — Jewett’s home club — and brings to 62 the number of honorees since the hall’s first selections in 1993.

Jewett was cited for his “pivotal shoreside role” in making U.S. America’s Cup syndicates competitive between 1974 and 2000. He was chairman of five defense and challenge syndicates, and was “a key participant in four Stars & Stripes campaigns, from 1987 until 1995,” the citation states. In 2000, Jewett was chairman of the AmericaOne challenger syndicate for the St. Francis Yacht Club. While he never raced for the Cup, Jewett, a retired paper industry executive, is a longtime sailor and member of the New York and San Diego Yacht clubs.

Australian Payne designed two of his homeland’s first 12 Meter Cup challengers, Gretel and Gretel II. He already had designed Solo, a 55-footer that won the 1955 Sydney Hobart race, and was one of the few Australians qualified to design a 12 Meter when he was selected to design a challenger. He spent four years studying the lines of the prewar 12 Meter Vim in developing Gretel for the 1962 challenge against Weatherly. “Gretel was hugely admired for her superiority in fast downwind sailing,” the citation says. “This quality won a race for Australia and nearly a second race in a tight series.”

Payne designed Gretel II for the 1970 challenge against Intrepid, which prevailed in gaining the Cup with the help of a successful protest-room challenge against the Payne-designed yacht. Gretel II won one of five races and fell out of contention in another when a crewman fell overboard. Payne also designed the 1983 challenger Advance and worked with a defense syndicate in 1987. He died in 1995.

Sutphen started out as a sailmaker in New York in 1958 and sailed aboard the 12 Meter Weatherly, which was eliminated in the America’s Cup defender series. He was on the Courageous team in 1974 with Conner, and then in 1980 joined Conner’s Freedom syndicate as skipper of the team’s trial horse. Sutphen continued in that role with Conner when the team lost the Cup in 1983, and again in 1986-’87 when they regained the Cup.

“I think we [the trial horse boat crew] made Dennis and Stars & Stripes better,” Sutphen said during his induction into the Hall of Fame. He remains a competitive racer, winning championships in the San Diego Pacific Coast Class.

The inductees were chosen from about 16 nominees, according to committee chairman John S. Burnham. Eligibility for election includes those who have served as “skippers, afterguard, crew, designers, builders, organizers, syndicate leaders, managers, supporters, chroniclers, race managers and other individuals of merit.”

The America’s Cup Hall of Fame is operated by the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, R.I., and is located at the museum on the grounds of the former Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, which built yachts for eight Cup defenses between 1893 and 1934.