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AUSTRALIA'S GRANT SIMMER TO JOIN SWISS AMERICA'S CUP CHALLENGE FOR 2003

by Rob Mundle on 6 Dec 2000
One of Australia's most experienced America's Cup yachtsmen, Grant Simmer, has been appointed the Design
Coordinator for the Swiss challenge for the Cup in 2003.

He was invited to join the syndicate by its skipper, two-time Cup winning helmsman Russell Coutts. The challenge
is headed by Swiss pharmaceuticals company executive, Ernesto Bertarelli.

Coutts said from Switzerland: 'It's fantastic that we have convinced Grant to join our team. He brings considerable
experience to all areas of our program both in terms of sailing and design.'

While this new contract requires Simmer to move with his family from Sydney to the challenge headquarters near
Lausanne, Switzerland, he will maintain his strong business association with the North Sails sailmaking operation
in Australia. He will also continue to campaign on the international ocean racing circuit with Australian owners.

Simmer, who was navigator for Australia II's historic America's Cup win in 1983, has been associated with four
subsequent Cup campaigns. His role with the Swiss syndicate involves the overall management and coordination
of the design and research functions for the hull, sails, spars, engineering, hardware and electronics. He will work
with a highly talented design team which includes Rolf Vrolik as principal designer, Dirk Kramers, Manuel de Ruiz
and Mike Schreiber.

'I really wanted to work with this team', Simmer said today. 'The Swiss are serious and enthusiastic about this
campaign. I believe the syndicate has an excellent chance to be successful in 2003.

'On the commercial front the America's Cup has been the arena where North Sails has had the funding available to
develop much of the technology that we use in creating the fastest possible sails. And this time around the Cup will
bring additional benefits for our company as we have recently expanded into other areas of yachting technology. It
all means direct benefits for our customers here in Australia as well as further strengthening North Sails' position as
the world leader in sailmaking.

'I made my decision to become part of the Swiss syndicate after careful consideration. In recent times North Sails
has been providing assistance to two potential Australian challengers for 2003, one led by Syd Fischer and the
other by Sydney yachtsman Michael Jones. Both these groups are continuing with their fund raising efforts,
although this has been more challenging than usual due to the drain that the Olympics placed on local sponsorships
and the impact of the weak Australian dollar.'

Simmer expects to be resident in Switzerland by January 2001. The syndicate plans to build two new boats and
test them in Auckland before the start of the challenger selection series in October 2002.

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