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Americas Cup Hall of Fame honours the late John Biddle

by Dana Paxton 10 Jan 2009 07:16 GMT

The America's Cup Hall of Fame, located in Bristol Rhode Island, is pleased to announce the induction of John Longley and the late Thomas Ratsey at a black-tie dinner on April 30, 2009. The 16th Induction Ceremony, presented by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and hosted at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, will also honor the late John Biddle for his 2008 induction into the Hall of Fame.

Distinguished Honorary Chairmen of the event are Sir James Hardy of Australia, Bruno Troublé of France and Gary Jobson of the United States; America’s Cup Hall of Fame President Halsey C. Herreshoff will preside over the ceremony. Tickets are available by contacting the America’s Cup Hall of Fame at 401-253-5000 or by email to In 1984, Longley was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to yachting. He is currently serving as the Event Director for the ISAF Sailing World Championships to be held in Fremantle in 2011.

Thomas W. Ratsey (1851-1935)

Thomas Ratsey’s career spans the classic era of the America’s Cup. His entry into the family business at 15 heralded one of the most important contributions to America’s Cup sailmaking made by a single individual. He was directly involved in seven challenges and the firm he controlled supplied sails for 10 challengers and four defenders during his lifetime.

At first, Ratsey’s firm was in the shadow of the Lapthorn loft, but such was his promise that the latter initiated an 1882 merger to form the long-lived firm of Ratsey & Lapthorn. Tom Ratsey was then personally responsible for the sails of every challenger until Shamrock IV after his first involvement crewing on Livonia at age 20. His continuous involvement with the Cup began with the Thistle challenge of 1887 when his close friend G. L. Watson involved him in his designs at an early stage; his presence in New York during that challenge laid the foundations of many lifelong friendships and Ratsey & Lapthorn’s US expansion.

Ratsey’s attendance at the 1895, 1899 and 1901 Cup races became more than the now expected attendance of the challenger’s sailmaker. On all these occasions he took home significant orders from American yachtsmen who recognized his unique talent. By 1901 many these were lobbying him to establish a loft in the US which he did within Robert Jacob’s City Island boatyard in 1902. What resistance there was to the English invasion was effectively overcome with his firm’s production of a near perfect mainsail for Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York 70, Rainbow.

About the America's Cup Hall of Fame

The America's Cup Hall of Fame was created to honor the challengers, defenders, and legendary personages of the world's most distinguished sporting competition. The present prototype Hall of Fame is located in an historic building on the grounds of the former Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, Rhode Island, where yachts were constructed for eight consecutive America's Cup defenses between 1893 and 1934. The Herreshoff Marine Museum, situated on this historic site, operates the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

Commencing with the first induction ceremony in 1993, 69 legends of the Cup have been selected for membership in the Hall of Fame. Candidates eligible for consideration include skippers, afterguard, crew, designers, builders, organizers, syndicate leaders, managers, supporters, chroniclers, race managers, and other individuals of merit. Each nominee is judged on the basis of outstanding ability, international recognition, character, performance, and contributions to the America’s Cup. The 22 members of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee bring a wealth of knowledge to the selection process. This illustrious international group is composed of persons intimate with the America's Cup tradition; they are especially committed to the integrity of the Hall of Fame. The America’s Cup Hall of Fame is honored to conduct its yearly induction ceremonies in locations worldwide.

The America's Cup Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving and demonstrating the influence of America's Cup competition, for the purpose of education and the inspiration of excellence in the world of yachting.

For more information, visit, or contact the Herreshoff Marine Museum at P.O. Box 450, One Burnside Street, Bristol, RI

The Herreshoff Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of Fame are dedicated to the education and inspiration of the public through presentations of the history and innovative work of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the America’s Cup competition.

Hall of Fame Honor Roll of Members:

Charles Francis Adams
James L. Ashbury
Charles Barr
J. Burr Bartram
Robert N. Bavier Jr.
John Bertrand
John Biddle
Baron Marcel Bich
Sir Peter Blake
Alan Bond
Dick Brown
Edward Burgess
W. Starling Burgess
Malin Burnham
Bradley W. Butterworth OBE
James E. Buttersworth
William F. Carstens
Dennis Conner
Russell Coutts
Briggs S. Cunningham
Laurie Davidson
Edward I. du Moulin
Sir Michael Fay
William P. Ficker
William Fife III
Henry Coleman Haff
Sir James Hardy
Nathanael G. Herreshoff
F.E. “Ted” Hood
Chandler Hovey
Sherman Hoyt
C. Oliver Iselin
George “Fritz” Jewett Jr.
Gary Jobson
Arthur Knapp Jr.
William I. Koch
Ben Lexcen
Sir Thomas J. Lipton
John Longley, AM (2009 Inductee)
Harry “Buddy” Melges
E.D. Morgan
Henry Sturgis Morgan
Emil “Bus” Mosbacher Jr.
Frank J. Murdoch
Charles E. Nicholson
Sir Frank Packer
General Charles J. Paine
Alan Payne
Thomas Ratsey (2009 Inductee)
Victor A. Romagna
Morris Rosenfeld
Stanley Rosenfeld
Tom Schnackenberg
George L. Schuyler
Commodore Henry Sears
T.O.M. Sopwith
George Steers
John Cox Stevens
Olin J. Stephens II
Roderick Stephens Jr.
Jack Sutphen
Bruno Troublé
R.E. “Ted” Turner
Stephen A. Van Dyck
Harold S.Vanderbilt
Gertrude Vanderbilt
George L. Watson
Thomas A. Whidden
The Earl of Wilton