February 11, 2021
Remembering Bob Fisher
Photo: Bob Fisher – Phoenix Cottage – Lymington – June 2019 © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com
Since 2005, Bob Fisher served on the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee with distinction. John Burnham, former chairman of the Committee, remarked, “Bob was a connector, back when it was more difficult for us all to connect internationally, and he added a lot to our committee’s deliberations.” One of Bob Fisher’s notable contributions was his research on the infamous Cup challenger Lord Dunraven. Fisher discovered that many of the negative stories about the Irish Earl were exaggerated and that it unfairly eclipsed his beneficial contributions such as helping level the playing field for challengers.
Many of us on the Committee reminisced about Fisher over the past weeks. Gary Jobson reflected, “Like all of you, I had many good times with Bob, on and off, the water. He was a great sailor early in his life, for example, winning the Fireball World Championship and racing in the Little America’s Cup on a catamaran. He wrote many books that fill a shelf in my library.”
Speaking of Fisher’s literary output, Tom Whidden, Jack Griffin, Richard Gladwell, and I, independently shared how we consult, on a regular basis, Fisher’s ambitious two-volume history of the Cup, An Absorbing Interest. Among other excellent attributes, the book has one of the best, if not the best, explanation of the famous Race Seven of the 1983 Match, complete with a diagram of the crucial penultimate leg.
Rob Mundle lamented, “The world of yachting will never be the same without Fish.” Mundle also noted, with a smile, “Of all his achievements it is hard to top the time he collided with a semi-submerged submarine! It made headlines and was mentioned in the British parliament!” Angus Phillips said, “He was a lion. A force of nature. We’ll miss the old boy, but he had a great life.”
Elizabeth Meyer said it best: “Bob was a great person. I mean a REAL GREAT person. He knew everything and everyone. He could sum them up perfectly in a short phrase…To my everlasting delight he did NOT suffer fools AT ALL. Remember when sailing had a lot of great writers and artists and photographers who were FRIENDS? Remember when sailing was beautiful and riotous? Well, Bob was all of that. Ugh! I’m sad, sorry, and bereft that he’s gone.”
The Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame sends its condolences to Bob’s wife Dee; children Alice and Carolyne; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Chairman of the Selection Committee, ACHOF