by Bill Wagner
The Farr 40 Class Association honored legendary British yachtsman and yachting journalist Bob Fisher for his many important contributions to the sport. The man affectionately known as 'Fish' was presented a specially engraved (with the F40 logo) Rolex Submariner watch by the Class for his lifelong support and promotion of sailing around the world.
Farr 40 class chairman Jim Richardson presents British sailing writer Bob Fisher with a Rolex watch
'Bob is the preeminent sailing writer in the world, a true treasure to our sport,' Farr 40 class chairman Jim Richardson said in making the presentation during an owners and crews party at La Piaggia Beach Club during the Miami Beach Invitational Regatta. 'Bob has probably forgotten more about sailing than any of us know. He is a walking encyclopedia of sailing history and has done so much to grow the sport through his writing.'
Fisher grew up in the coastal town of Brightlingsea and won his first sailboat race at the tender age of two years and four months when taken out on the Colne River by his father in a BS One-Design. He would later race a Truant 12-6, a Fireball and a Solent One-Design. To this day, Fisher remains proud of building himself a Hornet, a 16-foot hard chine one-design dinghy.
Fisher has also owned many larger racing boats such as a Mumm 36 and once captured the Little America’s Cup in a C-Class catamaran. While Fisher is an accomplished sailor, he is best known as a sailing writer who has covered just about every major event in the sport’s history.
Fisher is considered the world’s leading authority on the America’s Cup, having covered the last 15 editions of the event. He was headed to San Francisco to interview Oracle Racing owner Larry Ellison after the visit to Miami.
'The America’s Cup has become a major part of my life,' Fisher said. 'I was first introduced to the America’s Cup by fishermen from my village that had sailed on such great British challengers as Shamrock and Endeavour. I was enthralled by their stories and thus began a lifelong love affair with the Cup.'
Fisher has covered major sailing events for The Guardian newspaper as well as Yachts and Yachting Magazine. He has been a journalist since 1958 when he signed on with the newspaper at the age of 23. He also did a seven-year stint in television as a producer and director for the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Farr 40 sailors Linda Lindquist-Bishop and Sarah Okane plant kisses on the cheeks of a surprised Fisher - Farr 40 class honors legendary sailing journalist Bob Fisher
Now 78 years old, Fisher is still going strong and was his usual bombastic and entertaining self while spending three days in South Beach to observe the Farr 40 class Miami Beach Invitational Regatta. Fisher has enjoyed a longtime friendship with Farr 40 class manager Geoff Stagg, whom he met while covering the 1980-81 Whitbread Round The World Race. Stagg was a watch captain aboard Ceramco New Zealand, which was skippered by the late Sir Peter Blake.
'Bob’s knowledge of sailing and memory of sailing events is truly extraordinary. Just the amount of history and information that Bob has in his brain is unbelievable,' Stagg said. 'It occurred to me recently that when Bob goes, there is going to be a huge void in the world of sailing and sailboat racing.'
Stagg’s enormous respect for Fisher’s writing and sailing knowledge led him to select the Essex, England native to write all the words for The Fabulous 40s coffee table book that details the history of the Farr 40 class.
'Bob has been a great friend of mine and a great friend of the class and I am so happy that we have been able to honor him in this way,' Stagg said.
Fisher spent a day on the water watching the Miami Beach Invitational and remains amazed at how close and competitive the Farr 40 racing remains after so many years.
'In my mind, the Farr 40 is one of the best offshore one-design classes the world has ever seen. The racing is incredibly close and that is exactly what the owners want. It is a boat ahead of its time,' Fisher said.