Induction Class of 2024

Bob Fisher

Great Britain

1935 - 2021

Tim Jeffery

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.