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Americas Cup Hall of Fame inducts John Longley

by Paul Downie on 9 Jan 2009

The America's Cup Hall of Fame, located in Bristol Rhode Island, has announced the induction of one of Australia's heroes of sailing, John Longley AM.

John is a veteran of five Australian campaigns for the America's Cup, including four straight Cup Matches, winning the Cup in 1983. After his career as a 12-Metre Class sailor and team manager, he contributed to the America's Cup by participating in the development of the America's Cup Class.

John is presently the Event Director for the ISAF 2011 Sailing World Championships where he is using all his sailing and administration skills to once again make Fremantle the centre of international sailing.

John's involvement in the 1983 Australia II campaign marked a high point of his America's Cup career as a yachtsman. He helped Skipper John Bertrand select the crew for Australia II; choreographed the team's actions for tacking, jibing and other maneuvers via detailed step-by-step instructions; and served in the crew as a grinder.

In addition to his contributions on the water, John served as Australia II's Project Manager, managing the campaign's day-to-day operations from January 1981 until Executive Director Warren Jones took over in the summer of 1983, to allow John to focus on racing the boat.

While manager, John was responsible, among other things, for coordinating the building of Australia II and the construction of her keel. He leveraged his experience in the grinder pit and foredeck to co-design the boat's deck layout with yacht designer Ben Lexcen.

At age 41, John retired from Cup sailing after completing one final stint as manager and grinder for Australia IV in the 1986 Cup defence trials in Australia. But his contributions to the Cup did not end there as he was closely involved in moving the Event into the new era iand the development of the IACC class of yacht that the Cup has used for the past 20 years.

In 1984, John was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to yachting.

John said he was proud and honoured to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“Sailing has been a major focus for my life and to be recognised in this way is a great honour. It goes without saying that I only accept the award as a testament to the skill and professionalism of everyone I have been involved with in my sailing career,” John said.

“This award comes at a great time while Fremantle again becomes the focus of international sailing with the ISAF Sailing World Championships to be held in Fremantle in 2011.

“The World Championships will showcase Western Australia and in particular Fremantle as the world's premier international sailing location and will be the largest sailing event hosted by WA since the America's Cup defence in 1987.”

More than 5000 visitors, including 1500 sailors, are expected to visit Western Australia for the two week competition to determine the world champion for each of the ten Olympic sailing classes.

Along with John, the late Thomas Ratsey will also be inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame at a black-tie dinner on April 30. The 16th Induction Ceremony, presented by Rolex Watch USA and hosted at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, will also honor the late John Biddle for his 2008 induction into the Hall of Fame.

Distinguished Honorary Chairmen of the event are Sir James Hardy of Australia, Bruno Troublé of France and Gary Jobson of the United States; America's Cup Hall of Fame President Halsey C. Herreshoff will preside over the ceremony.

About the America's Cup Hall of Fame

The America's Cup Hall of Fame was created to honor the challengers, defenders, and legendary personages of the world's most distinguished sporting competition. The present prototype Hall of Fame is located in an historic building on the grounds of the former Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, Rhode Island, where yachts were constructed for eight consecutive America's Cup defenses between 1893 and 1934. The Herreshoff Marine Museum, situated on this historic site, operates the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

Commencing with the first induction ceremony in 1993, 67 legends of the Cup have been selected for membership in the Hall of Fame. Candidates eligible for consideration include skippers, afterguard, crew, designers, builders, organizers, syndicate leaders, managers, supporters, chroniclers, race managers, and other individuals of merit. Each nominee is judged on the basis of outstanding ability, international recognition, character, performance, and contributions to the America's Cup. The 22 members of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee bring a wealth of knowledge to the selection process. This illustrious international group is composed of persons intimate with the America's Cup tradition; they are especially committed to the integrity of the Hall of Fame. The America's Cup Hall of Fame is honored to conduct its yearly induction ceremonies in locations worldwide.

The America's Cup Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving and demonstrating the influence of America's Cup competition, for the purpose of education and the inspiration of excellence in the world of yachting.

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