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Olympic Gold medalist and America's Cup winning designer pass away

by 5 Oct 2021 18:16 PDT 6 October 2021
Earle Wells and Helmer Pedersen © Studio 57

Two of New Zealand's most celebrated sailors 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist Earle Wells and America's Cup designer Laurie Davidson have sadly both passed away.

The two competed in the 1964 Olympic trials in the Flying Dutchman class, with Pedersen and Wells winning the nomination by 1pt. Davidson was one of several competitors caught in a severe squall which decimated the fleet with only four boats finishing, and were forced to withdraw. He moved on to become a diverse and prolific designer of wholesome cruising boats, offshore racers, and America's Cuppers.

Sail-World will run fuller obituaries on both when time permits.

Laurie Davidson will be remembered mainly for his design exploits with the 1995 and 2000 America's Cups, as well as being part of the design triumvirate for the 1987 America's Cup that designed the 12 Metre KZ-7. However in his younger days he was a champion yachtsman across several classes. He was a self-taught designer in the then traditional way, where you designed a boat, usually built it, and then raced it.

For the Yachting New Zealand tribute Tributes flow for Laurie Davidson

Earle Wells was the other half of the second crew to win a Gold Medal in Olympic Sailing - with Helmer Pedersen, the burly Earle Wells had a slow start but went on to win the Gold medal in the 1964 Olympic Games at Enoshima. Behind them were some of the great names of the sport - Keith Musto, Buddy Melges, Hans Fogh and Paul Henderson.

For the Yachting New New Zealand tribute Olympic champion Earle Wells passes away

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