America’s Cup Hall of Fame selects 2023 Inductees
Published on April 5th, 2023
The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America’s Cup Hall of Fame has selected John “JB” Barnitt, Iain Murray, and Hope Goddard Iselin for the Class of 2023 inductees of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. They will be honored at the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Induction gala at the New York Yacht Club in New York City on October 17, 2023.
“The members of this year’s class hail from very different backgrounds but they all raced in the America’s Cup and contributed to the Cup via another discipline, including photography, boat-building, and regatta management,” said America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chair Steve Tsuchiya. “We’re thrilled to welcome this multi-talented group to the Hall of Fame!”
The America’s Cup Hall of Fame has inducted nearly a hundred 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.
“The America’s Cup is known for its constant innovation, and this group of inductees is truly emblematic of that dynamic,” said America’s Cup Hall of Fame President & Executive Director Bill Lynn. “JB and Iain have played important roles in the evolution of the Cup to multihulls and now foiling monohulls, while Ms. Iselin was a key member of the afterguard on RELIANCE, the biggest and possibly most innovative boat to ever sail in the Cup.”
The America’s Cup Hall of Fame was founded in 1992 to preserve the legacy and history of the America’s Cup competition, celebrating its heroes and inspiring future generations of Cup enthusiasts and participants.
America’s Cup Hall of Fame Inductees, Class of 2023:
John “JB” Barnitt (USA) (b. 1961)
John “JB” Barnitt is a highly accomplished sailor who has crewed on four America’s Cup yachts and won international sailing’s oldest prize three times. What sets him apart from many other sailors is that he achieved this feat in three different types of yachts, winning the Cup in a 12-Metre, a Deed-of-Gift catamaran, and an America’s Cup Class boat.
JB grew up in Minnesota, sailing Lasers and Etchells through the Wayzata Yacht Club on Lake Minnetonka. In 1979, when he was eighteen, he moved to Honolulu where he began sailing big boats through the Waikiki Yacht Club.
Within just a few years, JB got his Grand-Prix start with sailing legend Lowell North on SLEEPER as part of the U.S. Admirals Cup team. That experience opened the door to racing with another sailing legend, Dennis Conner (ACHoF Class of 1992).
In the aftermath of the 1983 America’s Cup, Conner expanded his team for an ambitious comeback for the 1987 series. Conner recalls, “Lowell North recommended we take a look at John Barnitt as a possible mastman, and that suggestion led to one of the best finds of the entire campaign…I tend to trust my instincts about people and John was positive, committed, clean-cut, all-American. He was my kind of guy.”
At just 24 years of age, JB joined Conner’s Sail America challenge in 1985 and served as the team’s mastman/sewerman aboard the team’s stable of 12-Metre yachts named STARS & STRIPES. In February 1987, he earned his first America’s Cup victory when STARS & STRIPES ‘87 defeated KOOKABURRA III in Australia to win the Auld Mug back for the United States. It was a stellar start for a remarkable sailing career.
With the Cup in the hands of the San Diego Yacht Club, JB remained with Dennis Conner’s team and he helped successfully defend the Cup in the contentious 1988 Deed of Gift match, crewing on the team’s advanced wing-sail catamaran STARS & STRIPES (US-1). For the 1992 defense, JB served as mastman on the new International America’s Cup Class boat for Team Dennis Conner.
Tom Whidden (ACHoF Class of 2004) reflects, “I was fortunate enough to sail in two successful Americas Cups with JB. I can honestly say that no team member worked and trained harder, sailed better, was more focused on a positive result and fit in better. JB’s skills were particularly evident in our dramatic victory in very difficult sailing conditions in Fremantle 1987.”
JB won his third America’s Cup in 2003 as starboard grinder with the Swiss challenger Alinghi, founded and led by Ernesto Bertarelli (ACHoF Class of 2016). ALINGHI (SUI-64) completed the America’s Cup season with a 31-4 overall record, beating Team New Zealand to bring the Cup to Europe for the first time in the trophy’s long history.
Despite no longer crewing on America’s Cup boats, JB remains connected to the world’s most prestigious yacht race. As Founder/President of Symmetrix Composite Tooling, he leads a team that builds full-scale master patterns and molds of the hulls and spars of the AC75 of New York Yacht Club American Magic.
Iain Murray AM (AUS) (b. 1958)
Iain Murray has one of the most diverse and remarkable track records in sailing. The Sydney-born polymath is a yacht-designer, boatbuilder, offshore sailor, Olympic competitor, Olympic coach, and multiple 18ft-skiff world champion.
Iain’s career in the America’s Cup is just as varied, entering the sport as a young skipper in the 1980s to now serving as one of the most highly regarded regatta directors in the history of the competition.
Iain’s journey in the America’s Cup began in 1983 in Newport, Rhode Island, racing aboard Syd Fischer’s (ACHoF Class of 2017) ADVANCE. But this 12-Metre yacht performed poorly in the challenger trials given that she was radically-optimized for only very light winds and the team was constrained by a modest budget.
However, it was a valuable experience for Iain, as the second youngest skipper in the America’s Cup up to that date. It was another Aussie team, AUSTRALIA II, which famously won that year in 1983, becoming the first challenger ever to win sailing’s Holy Grail.
For the next match, in 1987, four Australian teams vied for the right to defend the Cup for the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Fremantle, Western Australia. Iain joined Kevin Parry’s Perth-based Taskforce ’87 syndicate, to skipper and co-design, with John Swarbrick, three 12 Metre yachts, all named KOOKABURRA.
Thanks to Iain’s design and sailing skills, KOOKABURRA III emerged as the winner of the defender series and secured a place in the America’s Cup match. Unfortunately, KOOKABURRA III lost to the formidable STARS & STRIPES, skippered by Dennis Conner (ACHoF Class of 1993).
Nonetheless, Iain became only the second person in the history of the Cup to race in the match as both the skipper and the designer of a competing yacht—the Canadian challenger Alexander Cuthbert having first achieved this feat in 1881.
Further Cup campaigns saw Iain as CEO and lead designer of SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA in 1992, before his final sailing campaign with John Bertrand’s (ACHoF Class of 1993) oneAUSTRALIA, which famously broke in half during the 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger trials in San Diego.
Iain was just 19—as designer/builder/helmsman—when he won the first of six World titles (1982-1997) in the fiercely competitive Australian 18-foot skiff class. He is a double Etchells World Champion and represented Australia in the Star Class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Iain is also highly respected as a coach and held the role of Sailing Director to the Australian Olympic sailing team for the 2020 games in Tokyo. Murray has competed in multiple Admiral’s Cups plus 26 Sydney-Hobart races.
Iain was the regatta director of the 34th Americas Cup in San Francisco in 2013. Quietly spoken but strong in resolve, Murray has been known throughout his career as ‘Big Fella’. His steadiness brought reassurance in the summer of 2013, when British sailor Andrew Simpson lost his life while training with the Swedish challenger Artemis Racing.
Being appointed regatta director for the next three America’s Cups—Bermuda (2017), Auckland (2021) and Barcelona (2024)—is compelling evidence of the enormous respect that the yachting world holds for Iain Murray.
Edith Hope Goddard Iselin (USA) (1868-1970)
Edith Hope Goddard Iselin was a pioneer in yachting as the first American woman to have raced in the America’s Cup. She made history by winning the Cup three times as a member of the afterguard aboard DEFENDER (1895), COLUMBIA (1899), and RELIANCE (1903).
Hope’s passion for sailing was evident from a young age. Growing up in Providence and East Greenwich, Rhode Island, she spent much of her leisure time sailing, golfing, and horseback riding. In 1894, she married yachtsman C. Oliver Iselin (ACHoF Class of 1994), and it wasn’t long before she made a name for herself in the sporting world.
Thanks to her extensive sailing experience, Hope played a crucial role in winning the America’s Cup with yacht DEFENDER in 1895. As a contemporary newspaper account notes, “Mrs. Iselin had been intensely interested in yachting matters, and was invariably to be found aboard the DEFENDER during the trial races. It was said of her that she had spent more time at sea than any other woman in yachting circles.”
No detail was too small for her. She oversaw everything from the selection of silk panels in the yacht’s saloon to supervising the selection and preparation of the crew’s meals.
Hope’s winning efforts continued with COLUMBIA in 1899. She convinced her husband, the yacht’s owner-manager, to hire Charlie Barr (ACHoF Class of 1993) as skipper. Barr would go on to become the greatest skipper of his generation in the United States and he helped defend the Cup three times for the New York Yacht Club.
Hope also sailed on COLUMBIA during almost all the races that season. While on board, she often sat in the companionway and occasionally served as the peacemaker, which she observed, required “coolness, a good sense of humor, and a fund of funny stories.”
In addition to occasionally boosting morale aboard the yacht, Hope skillfully captured candid photographs of the afterguard and crew during practice sails and races using a portable camera. Her photographs offer a rare perspective of Big Class racing, often capturing the sailors at work from the viewpoint of a fellow crewmate on these magnificent boats. Because Hope is among the first photographers to capture these onboard scenes, she remains an important chronicler of the sport.
Hope Goddard Iselin’s legacy as a trailblazing America’s Cup team member sets an example for future generations of sailors.
America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee
R. Steven Tsuchiya, Chairman
John S. Burnham
Halsey C. Herreshoff
William H. Dyer Jones
John Lammerts van Bueren
Elizabeth E. Meyer