New Zealand

1927 –

As one of the best America’s Cup designers since the introduction of the new America’s Cup class in 1990, New Zealander Laurie Davidson had also designed the New Zealand fiberglass 12-meters that were among the top performers during the 1987 competition in Fremantle, Australia.

Laurie Davidson and Doug Peterson were the chief designers for Team New Zealand’s challenge in 1995. Laurie Davidson was one of the lead designers of NZ-32 and NZL-38, along with Doug Peterson. Both designers and other members of the design team collaborated on the rig and other components of the two yachts. NZL-32 went on to win the Cup in five straight races over the American defender. In 2000, when Laurie was chief designer of Team New Zealand, designers of competing syndicates used the hull shape of NZL-32 as the benchmark. But Laurie took a jump ahead by inventing what is now known as the “Davidson bow”, a forward hanging geometry that provides slightly greater sailing length within the rating. Again a Davidson-designed boat won in five straight, this time against the challenger LUNA ROSSA of Italy.

During the 2003 challenge, all the boats but one sported a “Davidson bow”. Laurie was chief designer of the American OneWorld challenge, but the Swiss ALINGHI, a yacht resembling in important respects previous Davidson designs, won the Cup.