Team NZ designer Laurie Davidson dies

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Yacht designer Laurie Davidson, a key figure in Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup breakthrough, has died.

Davidson passed away in Auckland, aged 94.

He designed NZL32, better known as Black Magic, which Team New Zealand sailed to win the Auld Mug for the first time in San Diego in 1995. The Kiwis swept that series 5-0 against Dennis Conner’s US defender Stars & Stripes.

Davidson was then head of the Team New Zealand design team for the successful defence of the America’s Cup in 2000, where they swept Italy’s Prada Challenge 5-0.

Davidson had earlier struck success in international sailing with winning designs in half-ton, three-quarter-ton and one-ton world championships in the 1970s.

He also had several highly successful designs for pleasure boats.

Team New Zealand paid tribute to Davidson as they noted his passing.

“Team New Zealand are sad to hear of the passing of Laurie Davidson – one of Team New Zealand and the America’s Cup’s most famous yacht designers,” the America’s Cup holders said on their social media.

“Laurie was part of the Team New Zealand design teams between 1987 – 2000, which included the America’s Cup winning boats NZL32 and NZL60.

“He is also one of ‘The Big 3’ (Laurie Davidson, Bruce Farr, and Ron Holland) that came out of New Zealand and dominated international yacht design through the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s.

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