Induction Class of 2024

Juan Vila


1961 -

Joerg Mitter | Alinghi Red Bull Racing

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.