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The America's Cup Hall of Fame to induct Franklin Osgood, Bryan Willis, and Rolf Vrolijk

by Bill Lynn 10 Mar 06:27 PDT 2 June 2020
Franklin Osgood's yacht Magic © Library of Congress

The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America's Cup Hall of Fame welcomes Franklin Osgood, Bryan Willis, and Rolf Vrolijk, to the America's Cup Hall of Fame as the inductees of the Class of 2020.

The Induction Ceremony will take place at the INEOS Team UK base in Portsmouth, England, on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

The America's Cup Hall of Fame has inducted over ninety individuals since its founding in 1992. Candidates eligible for consideration include members of the crew, designers, builders, syndicate leaders, supporters, chroniclers, and other individuals of merit.

Each nominee is judged on the basis of outstanding ability, international recognition, character, performance, and contributions to the sport. The members of the Selection Committee are intimate with the history and traditions of America's Cup and are committed to the integrity of the Hall of Fame.

America's Cup Hall of Fame Inductees, Class of 2020

Franklin Osgood (USA) (1828-1888)

Franklin Osgood was the first defender and two-time winner of the America's Cup. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Osgood's victory as the owner and manager of the schooner MAGIC, which won the first defense of the America's Cup on August 8, 1870. In the only fleet race for a Cup final, MAGIC led at all marks on the race course in New York Harbor to defeat sixteen other defenders and the lone challenger.

In the following year, Osgood successfully defended the Cup again, this time with a new schooner, COLUMBIA, in match races against the challenger—proof that his first victory was no fluke.

During an era when most yacht owners knew little about sailing, let alone racing, Osgood was a bona fide racing yachtsman. The New York Herald observed that, "Mr. Franklin Osgood, owner of the MAGIC, is a brave, courageous and bold seaman. He goes for every stitch of canvas aloft in a stiff breeze, and would himself get in the weather rigging if it would accelerate the MAGIC's speed."

Osgood also has the distinction of being a member of the first America's Cup Committee of the New York Yacht Club. This committee, formed in 1869 by the NYYC, consisted of George L. Schuyler, Moses Grinnell, and Osgood, to negotiate with the Cup's first challenger, James Ashbury. The result was the 1870 match, which set the America's Cup on the path to become yachting's Holy Grail.

Bryan Willis (United Kingdom) (b.1944)

Bryan Willis is being inducted into the Hall of Fame for his dedicated service as a Chairman and as a member of America's Cup International Juries and Arbitration Panels. He has also served as a rules advisor on multiple Cup campaigns during his impressive career that has spanned 33 years, from the 12-Metre Era in 1980 to the Multi-Hull Era in 2013.

Always patient and thoughtful, Willis guided many America's Cup Juries and Arbitration Panels through difficult and demanding decisions. The work of a Cup juror and arbitrator is not easy. It requires making adjudications affecting highly motivated individuals. Considerable pressure and stress are put on the people making important decisions that can make the difference between winning and losing the Cup. Being invited back to serve on successive America's Cup Juries and Arbitration Panels is a clear testament to the high quality of Bryan's work. Competitors, race officials, and regatta organizers all hold him in extremely high regard.

Willis's work has also transcended the America's Cup. He has served with distinction as an international juror, international umpire, and as a rule administrator for World Sailing. An excellent communicator, he has authored books on The Racing Rules of Sailing and dispute resolution that have educated and informed generations of sailors and officials at all levels of the sport.

Rolf Vrolijk (The Netherlands) (b.1946)

Rolf Vrolijk won two America's Cup matches with Team Alinghi as the Chief Designer of SUI-64 (2003) and SUI-100 (2007).

Vrolijk's first significant foray into the America's Cup was during 2000 match cycle when he designed BRAVO ESPANA (ESP-47) for the Spanish challenge. While the team did not progress to the Louis Vuitton semi-finals, the boat's hull design was considered by many to be one of the fastest. After that match, Ernesto Bertarelli, the founder of Team Alinghi, didn't hesitate to hire Vrolijk to be the team's lead designer.

Vrolijk's SUI-64 helped lead the Swiss team to victory in the 2003 match, bringing the Cup to Europe for the first time since 1851. In 2007, his final America's Cup Class yacht, SUI-100, regarded as the fastest ACC yacht ever built, successfully defended the Cup for the Société Nautique de Genève.

Beyond his proven design skills, Vrolijk is a humble man who is deeply respected for his approach to the sport. Hall of Famer Brad Butterworth declares, "I am a big fan of Rolf Vrolijk, I have been in teams with Rolf, notably Alinghi where he was a true sportsman holding up all the high ideals of yacht racing."

In between Cup matches, Vrolijk designed multiple champions in the TP52, Maxi, and other elite classes. He is currently a member of the design team of INEOS Team UK, a challenger for the 36th Cup.

America's Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee

  • R. Steven Tsuchiya, Chairman
  • Stuart Alexander
  • B. Devereux Barker III
  • Margherita Bottini
  • John S. Burnham
  • Brad Butterworth
  • William Collier
  • Bob Fisher
  • Germán Frers
  • Richard Gladwell
  • Jack Griffin
  • Halsey C. Herreshoff
  • Gary Jobson
  • Andrew Johns
  • John Lammerts van Bueren
  • Elizabeth E. Meyer
  • Peter J. Montgomery
  • Rob Mundle
  • Angus Phillips
  • Hamish Ross
  • Bruno Troublé
  • Tom Whidden

About the Herreshoff Marine Museum

The Herreshoff Marine Museum, located in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, is a maritime museum dedicated to the history of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the America's Cup. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (1878-1945) was most notable for producing fast sailing yachts, including eight America's Cup defenders, and steam-powered vessels. The museum, situated near Narragansett Bay on the grounds where the manufacturing company once stood, has a collection of over sixty boats including Nathanael Greene Herreshoff's Clara, built in 1887, Harold Vanderbilt's Trivia, and the 1992 ACC yacht, Defiant.


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