Induction Class of 1995

T.O.M. Sopwith


1888 - 1989

Photo Credit: © Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

T.O.M. Sopwith, the undisputed leader of the British aircraft industry, brought prevailing aircraft technology to his America's Cup Challengers. His two J-Class yachts, ENDEAVOUR and ENDEAVOUR II, were clearly outstanding for sophisticated technical innovations and advanced instrumentation that measured wind speed and direction. As owner, organizer, and helmsman of both of his challengers, Sopwith also brought a remarkably high level of committment to the races. In 1934, his first ENDEAVOUR gave the New York Yacht Club a good scare, winning the first two races before losing the next four to RAINBOW. ENDEAVOUR II was technologically superior to the first, but had the misfortune of competing against the nearly unbeatable RANGER in 1937. Sopwith, perhaps more than any challenger to date, demonstrated the resolve and talent necessary to wrench the America's Cup from the hands of the New York Yacht Club. Both his advanced technology and his sailing competitiveness embodied the spirit that has made the America's Cup great. Sopwith was known for his outstanding racing record. He won England's 12-Meter Championship in 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930. Sopwith's drive and commitment to his campaigns generated some of the most riveting America's Cup racing of the J-Boat era.