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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupThe America's Cup Hall of Fame to induct Josh Belsky, Bob Fisher,...

The America’s Cup Hall of Fame to induct Josh Belsky, Bob Fisher, Kevin Shoebridge and Juan Vila

The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America’s Cup Hall of Fame welcomes Josh Belsky, Bob Fisher, Kevin Shoebridge and Juan Vila as Class of 2024 inductees of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame.

They will be honored on October 14th, 2024 at the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Induction gala at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain.

“This year’s class reflects the America’s Cup’s intent to foster ‘friendly competition between foreign countries’. We’re honoring four individuals—from four different nations—united by their genuine affection for each other and for yachting’s greatest prize”, said America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chair Steven Tsuchiya. “We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of this very deserving group.”

The America’s Cup Hall of Fame has inducted over a hundred individuals since its founding in 1992. Candidates eligible for consideration include members of the crew, designers, builders, syndicate leaders, supporters, chroniclers, and other individuals of merit. Each nominee is judged on the basis of outstanding ability, international recognition, character, performance, and contributions to the sport. The members of the Selection Committee are intimate with the history and traditions of America’s Cup and are committed to maintaining the integrity of the Hall of Fame.

“What a great group!”, said America’s Cup Hall of Fame President & Executive Director Bill Lynn. “We have a journalist, a pit man, a navigator and a genoa trimmer who are all among the best in the world at what they do (or did!), and their home countries have all played a pivotal role in the history of the Cup. I want to thank the Selection Committee for their hard work and for giving us four excellent new members of the Hall of Fame. The only tough part is that Bob Fisher won’t be there for what promises to be an unforgettable celebration in Barcelona.”

America’s Cup Hall of Fame Inductees, Class of 2024

Josh Belsky – photo © Daniel Forster

Josh Belsky (USA) (b. 1966)

Josh Belsky sailed with five America’s Cup teams, winning the Cup three times.

Josh began sailing at age five with his family in his hometown of Rye, New York, as well as in Edgartown, Massachusetts, and Jamestown, Rhode Island. He grew up racing on Dyer Dhows, Blue Jays, Lasers, Solings, Shields, and J24s. In the summer of 1974, as an impressionable eight-year-old, Josh witnessed the America’s Cup for the first time; from that point on, he followed every Cup match in person during the New York Yacht Club’s defenses in Newport.

In the mid-1980s, Josh studied at St. Lawrence University—where he graduated in 1989 with a B.A. in Sociology and Geography—and began sailing internationally aboard Maxi and IOR boats. Josh credits John Thomson, Jr., owner of the IOR50 INFINITY, as his most significant sailing mentor. Thomson guided Josh in the exciting, high-stakes world of grand prix sailing, which, in turn, led to his participation in the America’s Cup for the 1992 series in San Diego.

Led by skipper/owner Bill Koch, and with Buddy Melges at the helm, Josh served as a pit person on AMERICA3 which successfully defended the Cup for the San Diego Yacht Club. In 1995, he sailed with skipper Dennis Conner on STARS & STRIPES, winning the Defender Trials but losing the match to Team New Zealand’s “Black Magic”. Tactician Tom Whidden recalls, “Josh is one of the most focused, hardworking, and competent sailors I’ve ever sailed with.”

In 1998, Josh, sailing for EF LANGUAGE with skipper Paul Cayard, won the grueling Whitbread Round-The-World-Race. On the heels of that success, Cayard invited Josh to join the AmericaOne syndicate for the 2000 America’s Cup in Auckland. Although they managed to reach the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the team lost a closely contested series to the Prada Challenge, 5-4.

Josh closed his America’s Cup career with Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi, representing the Société Nautique de Genève. With that team, he had the privilege of winning two more Cup matches, in 2003 as challenger and in 2007 as defender.

Given his humble and team-focused personality, Josh not only served as a vital crewmember but also a liaison between designers, sailors, and builders. He facilitated the process of optimizing the deck layout of his team’s boats, balancing the designers’ vision, the crew’s needs, and the practicalities of construction.

Retired from professional yacht racing, Josh is currently an avid skier and kite surfer splitting his time between Aspen, Colorado and Hood River, Oregon.

Bob Fisher – photo © Tim Jeffery

Bob Fisher (GBR) (1935 – 2021)

Bob won his first race at the age of two in a Brightlingsea One-Design helmed by his father. Bob’s childhood home in Essex on England’s East Coast profoundly influenced his love of sailing, particularly the America’s Cup.

Brightlingsea was a village where the watermen fished for much of the year before turning out in Guernsey sweaters embroidered with “SHAMROCK V RUYC” as they crewed on J-Class yachts in regatta season.

The America’s Cup became a significant part of Bob’s life, culminating in his two-volume work, An Absorbing Interest, published in 2007. The 544-page history became an authoritative work for every Match from 1851 to 2007. It includes exhaustive extracts from correspondence between many Cup competitors, some made public for the first time thanks to Bob’s 15 years of diligent research in archives and interviews.

It was one of 31 books Bob wrote or co-authored, his America’s Cup magnum opus every bit the standard reference which Catamaran Sailing, one of his very first from 1968, had been. It was written with his close friend and future Olympic Gold medallist Reg White, coinciding with Bob’s own highly successful racing. He won World Championships in the Hornet (1958 & 1970) and Fireball (1966) dinghies, the Little America’s Cup (1967), the IYRU (now World Sailing) trials for a new Olympic catamaran (Tornado) and Class 1V in the two-handed Round Britain & Ireland Race with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in 1989.

Broadcasting formed a significant part of Bob’s career. He was a producer for the BBC, and, later, as a commentator; his rich baritone voice was familiar on television and radio. The fifth race of the 1970 match between GRETEL II and INTREPID was Bob’s initiation to the America’s Cup. That one race was all the time his employment permitted. Determined to change that, Bob embraced the freedom of freelancing and never missed an America’s Cup Match from 1974 to 2017. He also attended most of the Cup’s preliminary series, including the 2020 races in the new AC75s in Auckland.

Bob knew everyone, and everyone knew Bob. Colorful characters gravitate toward each other. He arrived four weeks before the 1974 Match and totally immersed himself in the Newport summer. At the Black Pearl bar, Bob wagered with Jim Hardy for a case of port, with Tom Blackaller as witness, that syndicate head Alan Bond would appoint Hardy as skipper of SOUTHERN CROSS. Bob won the bet.

He broadcast live on Australia’s ABC when AUSTRALIA II defeated LIBERTY in the epoch-defining 1983 Match. His prodigious output saw Bob widely read in The Guardian and The Observer newspapers as well as countless magazines around the world.

Kevin Shoebridge – photo © Maria Muiña

Kevin Shoebridge (NZL) (b. 1963)

Kevin Shoebridge is a four-time winner of the America’s Cup. Vastly experienced, he is known for his quiet demeanor, clear communication, collaborative management style, and ability to get things done. “Shoebie” is currently in his tenth America’s Cup campaign of a 40-year career.

Kevin joined the Michael Fay-led New Zealand Challenge in 1986 as a sail trimmer for KZ-7 KIWI MAGIC for the 1987 America’s Cup cycle in Fremantle. The Kiwis had won 38 consecutive races in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series before being beaten by STARS & STRIPES in the Finals.

Kevin rejoined the New Zealand Challenge in 1992, sailing as a genoa trimmer aboard NZL-20, which controversially did not progress beyond the Final of the Louis Vuitton Cup. His Lion NZ/Steinlager 2 skipper, Peter Blake, joined the NZ Challenge to assist with management in mid-1991. Shoebie stayed with Blake when he and close associate Alan Sefton formed Team New Zealand from the foundation of the Cup campaigns led by Michael Fay.

Kevin was again back in a genoa trimmer role for New Zealand’s first America’s Cup victory, in San Diego in 1995. He and his team won again in 2000, defeating LUNA ROSSA to achieve the first-ever successful Cup defense outside the United States.

With Peter Blake’s departure and the Kiwi team’s partial breakup after the 2000 America’s Cup, Kevin joined One World (USA) for the 2003 America’s Cup in Auckland. They were eliminated in the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals.

He rejoined Team New Zealand in May 2003 in his current senior management role after Grant Dalton took over as CEO following the ignominious loss to Team Alinghi in the 2003 defense. Shoebie worked in a management partnership with Dalton and was responsible for the sailing operations as the team was rebuilt. The now Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) was the Challenger for the 2007 America’s Cup, held in Valencia. Alinghi defeated the Kiwis 5-2.

As a co-leader of ETNZ, Kevin supervised the design, construction, sailing operations and logistics as the Cup transitioned after Valencia from monohulls to the AC72 wing-sailed foiling catamarans. The operations group became noted for its lateral thinking which developed the breakthrough foiling 72ft multihull instead of a displacement design contemplated by the AC72 class rule. In 2013, ETNZ faced Oracle Team USA in the longest-ever America’s Cup match, the outcome of which was decided by the 19th race with Oracle prevailing.

But that bitter loss did not stop ETNZ. Instead, the team returned with more innovations and determination. By using advanced performance prediction/simulation tools and cyclors, the team gained the winning edge in the 2017 America’s Cup. ETNZ used the same performance tools to develop the radical AC75 foiling monohull class for the 2021 and 2024 America’s Cups. The team successfully defended the Cup in 2021.

For the 37th America’s Cup, Kevin remains the Chief Operations Officer—a role he has held under different job titles for 20 years—of one of the most successful teams in Cup history.

Juan Vila – photo © Joerg Mitter / Alinghi Red Bull Racing

Juan Vila (ESP) (b. 1961)

Juan Vila has participated in an impressive ten consecutive Cup cycles, from the 1992 series held in San Diego to the current cycle in his hometown of Barcelona. Over the years, he has competed in five America’s Cup matches and has been victorious three times—in 2003 and 2007 with the Swiss team Alinghi, and in 2013 with Oracle Team USA.

Juan began sailing at age eight and honed skills in his teenage years on keelboats on the Mediterranean. After graduating from the Universitat Politècnica de Barcelona with a degree in Civil Engineering, he began competing in the Whitbread Around the World Race. Given his affinity for technical subjects, he decided to specialize in navigation, an important role aboard yachts especially before the adoption of GPS in yacht racing.

Juan began his long career in the America’s Cup as the navigator of the (International) America’s Cup Class boats of Spain’s three challenges, ESPAÑA ’92, RIOJA DE ESPAÑA (1995), and BRAVO ESPAÑA (2000). Given Spain’s departure from Cup after the 2000 series, Juan accepted Brad Butterworth’s invitation to join Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss challenger ALINGHI for the 2003 Cup cycle. Butterworth remarked, “Juan has always been a special talent, more than just a navigator. He’s an all-round sailor, always available on deck in long races and, for me, a tactical talent to help any decision—and just a great guy to have in your team.” Juan served on the “trial horse” for Alinghi’s 2003 team. For Juan, the 2003 America’s Cup victory remains his favorite, given it was his first Cup win and because he helped bring the Auld Mug to Europe for the first time in the sport’s long history.

In 2007, Juan, as the navigator of Alinghi’s SUI100, achieved his second Cup victory with his team’s successful defense in Valencia, Spain. While he and his fellow Alinghi team members lost the Cup in the 2010 match, it did not dampen his pursuit of the trophy. Having caught “America’s Cup fever”, Juan continued his quest as the meteorologist and electronics/navigational systems advisor for Oracle Team USA’s Cup campaigns in 2013 and 2017. The team’s thrilling come-from-behind victory in 2013 earned him his third Cup win.

In the current era of the AC75 Class, Juan served with INEOS Team UK in 2021. But, with Ernesto Bertarelli’s return to the Cup for the 2024 cycle, Juan rejoined his old team—now Alinghi Red Bull Racing—as the team meteorologist and performance analyst.

Outside of the America’s Cup, Vila has achieved outstanding offshore racing achievements. He has raced five times in the Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread and the Volvo Ocean Race) beginning in the 1989-90 edition. In 2002, with Illbruck, he became the first Spanish sailor to win this grueling around-the-world race. In 2012, Vila won the Jules Verne Trophy with a non-stop circumnavigation of 45 days, 13 hours, and 42 minutes on board the 40-meter long trimaran BANQUE POPULAIRE V, skippered by Loïck Peyron.

America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee

  • R. Steven Tsuchiya, Chairman
  • Margherita Bottini
  • John S. Burnham
  • Brad Butterworth
  • William Collier
  • Richard Gladwell
  • Jack Griffin
  • Halsey C. Herreshoff
  • Tim Jeffery
  • Gary Jobson
  • Andrew Johns
  • Murray Jones
  • William H. Dyer Jones
  • John Lammerts van Bueren
  • Ken McAlpine
  • Elizabeth E. Meyer
  • Shirley Robertson
  • Blue Robinson
  • Hamish Ross
  • Mike Toppa
  • Bruno Troublé
  • Tom Whidden
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