Sailing: Laurie Davidson, Team New Zealand and America’s Cup legend, has died aged 94

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Laurie Davidson at the inauguration of the NZL 60 at the Auckland Viaduct in 2000. Photo / Getty

Former America’s Cup-winning boat designer Laurie Davidson has died aged 94.

Davidson, inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 2007, was a key designer of Team New Zealand’s successful campaigns in 1995 and 2000.

Notably, Davidson helped develop “Black Magic”, the famous boat that took Sir Peter Blake and Russell Coutts to a 5-0 sweep over Dennis Conner’s Young America to win the America’s Cup for New Zealand for the first time.

In the 2000 campaign, Davidson excelled again. When designers from competing unions used the Black Magic’s hull shape as a criterion, he invented what is now known as the “Davidson bow,” a forward-hanging geometry that provides slightly sail length. higher in the rating. Once again, a Davidson-designed boat won 5-0, this time over Italian challenger Luna Rossa.

Davidson’s accomplishments were later recognized in 2000 New Year honors, when he was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his service in designing yachts.

The New Zealand team expressed grief upon hearing of Davidson’s passing and praised his contribution to the sport.

“The New Zealand team is sad to hear of the passing of Laurie Davidson, one of the New Zealand and America’s Cup team’s most famous yacht designers,” the team wrote. on its social media pages.

Laurie was on Team New Zealand’s design teams between 1987 and 2000, which included America’s Cup winning boats NZL32 and NZL60.

He is also one of the ‘Big 3’ (Laurie Davidson, Bruce Farr and Ron Holland) who came from New Zealand and dominated international yacht design in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

“Laurie was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 2007 and her influence in yacht design will be a legacy in the sport for years to come. Rest in peace.”

Holland – one of the “Big 3” mentioned by Team New Zealand – also posted a tribute to Davidson on their professional Facebook page.

“Unbeknownst to him, he was a ‘yacht design mentor’ to me.

“No yacht designer had a better ‘eye’ than Laurie, he created beautiful, fast yachts.”



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