Australia’s Syd Fischer stands with high-profile Ulster-Scot, Sir Thomas Lipton, as the only yachtsmen to have mounted five self-funded challenges for the America’s Cup in the event’s 166-year history.
Now aged 90, Fischer is also noted for launching the America’s Cup careers of some of today’s most famous Australian yachtsmen, in particular Jimmy Spithill, Iain Murray and Hugh Treharne, who was tactician aboard the 1983 Cup winner, Australia II. Fischer entered the America’s Cup arena in 1983 with his challenge contender, Advance. Then, for the Cup defense in Fremantle in 1986-87, he campaigned the whimsically named Steak’n’Kidney (rhyming slang for his home city, Sydney). In 1992, it was Challenge Australia; in 1995, Sydney ’95, and, in 2000, Young Australia, with Spithill at the helm. Fischer, who on many occasions sailed aboard his Cup yachts, also took a direct interest in the administration of the America’s Cup as a member of the Challenger of Record Committee.
Outside of the America’s Cup, Syd Fischer is recognized as Australia’s most successful offshore sailor. He has tasted victory in two of the world’s major ocean racing events–the Sydney to Hobart and the Fastnet race–won the One Ton Cup world championship and led six Australian campaigns for the Admiral’s Cup in England. His achievements in yachting have earned him the prestigious Order of the British Empire medal, induction into the New South Wales Sports Hall of Fame, and being named Australia’s Yachtsman of the Year on two occasions.