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Wright sailed with Dennis Conner in four America’s Cup campaigns, was College Sailor of the Year in 1971, an All-American, an Inductee into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame and the Barnegat Bay Hall of Fame, and a 1989 Yachting Magazine Crewmember of the Year.
He was mainsheet trimmer on five America’s Cup teams, winning in 1974, 1980 and 1987. He skippered boats to first place in the 1989 Volvo Regatta, in a number of North Americans in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and in East Coasts in 1990. He skippered other boats to top finishes in the early to mid 2000s and crewed in the Maxi World Championships, SORC, the Newport-Bermuda race, the San Francisco Big Boat Series, the Congressional Cup, the 12 Metre Worlds, the Middle Sea Race, the Clipper Cup, Marble Head to Halifax, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Key West Race Week, Block Island Race Week, and Acura SORC. He was watch captain for Annapolis to Bermuda “Chessie Racing.”
The following is an excerpt from a Philadelphia Inquirer article on Jonathan when he was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame:
These days, Jonathan Wright is far removed from the coast of Australia, where he once spent hours, if not entire days, on the water as part of [one of] the most renowned American sailing team[s] in history.
Today, his work is no less time-consuming and arguably equally instrumental. The 66-year-old serves as the Vanderstar Chair at the United States Naval Academy, overseeing the quality and safety of all sailing vessels.
Wright, who grew up in Chestnut Hill, supervises trips in which 80 midshipmen squeeze onto a 45-foot vessel, in part to complete the academy’s requirement that all graduates know how to sail.
America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sports, no less prestigious to its followers than Lord Stanley’s Cup is to hockey fans. Wright competed in five America’s Cups spanning 13 years, winning three times and placing second once. “I think they picked me because I did it five times,” he said. “Not many have done that. I feel that’s what I’m representing – all of those people that helped me do that. They’re going to be a big part of my speech.”
Wright’s father owned a sailing shop on the South Jersey shore and Wright got his start at the Stone Harbor Yacht Club.
Sailing Related Accomplishments
Year(s) Event
2010 Barnegat Bay Sailing Hall of Fame
1991 USMMA (Kings Point) Athletic Hall of Fame
1989 Yachting Magazine Crewmember of the Year
1971 College Sailor of the Year (Morris Trophy)
1971 All American Collegiate Sailing Team

America’s Cup
Year(s) Event
1987 Stars & Stripes
1983 Liberty
1980 Freedom
1977 Independence
1974 Courageous

Year(s) Places(s) Event
2013 1st Word Duckboat Championships
2005 Middle Atlantic YRA Laser Championship
2004-2005 Middle Atlantic YRA Laser Master Championship
2002 4th Laser NA Masters Grand Master
1990 1st J/27 North Americans
1990 1st JY 15 East Coasts
1989 1st J/35 Volvo Regatta
Four-time 1st GP 15 North Americans
1988 1st J /29 North Americans

• 1987-1990, Maxi World Championships KIALOA, LONGOBARDA
• 1972-1986, SORC, 12 times
• Newport Bermuda Race, 13 times
• San Francisco Big Boat Series, four times
• Congressional Cup, five times
• 12-Metre Worlds, two times
• Middle Sea Race
• Clipper Cup, three times
• Marblehead to Halifax, four times
• Annapolis to Newport Race, four times
• Key West Race Week, five times
• Block Island Race Week, five times
• Annapolis to Bermuda “Chessie Racing” Watch captain
• Acura SORC, six times

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