Doug Peterson died. His Black Magic in 95 had brought the first Cup to Auckland.


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Irony. In the face of this news it really has to be said. Within hours of New Zealand’s triumph in the America’s Cup comes news of Doug Peterson’s death, the genius designer from San Diego who in 1995 designed Black Magic, the boat in which the Kiwis first won the world’s most famous silver jug, uncorking it at the American Star and Stripes.

The hippie desiegner, as he was known in his circles, left us after a long illness at the age of 71.
Doug Peterson is a cornerstone of the America’s Cup: he made his Cup debut in 1992 when he designed America3 for Bill Koch’s team called to defend the Cup in San Diego waters.
Three years later Peterson “went over to the enemy,” flying to New Zealand to join the Black Magic project that wrested the Cup from the Stars and Stripes Americans in San Diego in 1995 under Conner.

In 2000 he was again a protagonist, called by Patrizio Bertelli to collaborate on the Luna Rossa project.
Prada Doug Peterson

But Doug Peterson’s story does not stop at the America’s Cup alone, as the American designer in the 1970s revolutionized the world of IOR racing with a design that was futuristic for the time.

The year was 1973.At the One Ton Cup in Porto Cervo, a boat impressed everyone with its speed and its history. It is called Ganbare and was built in just five weeks following a brilliant intuition of a very young California designer, nicknamed “hippie designer,” who had set out to challenge the two “untouchable” architects of the IOR era, namely Dick Carter and Olin Stephens. We are always talking about Doug Peterson, who revolutionized the history of modern yachting forever with this One Tonner, designing a hull with light displacement (5,400 kg against an average weight of other boats around 7,000), fine extremities, full shapes distributed over the entire length and not concentrated around the main section, and a very large rudder not only to maneuver better but to improve hydrodynamics. In the 1970s, light boats were not well regarded in the racing world because they were “accused” of not being able to go upwind. Ganbare’s construction was also revolutionary: “strip planking,” that is, with red cedar foils and laths, square section coated with epoxy and resting on the frames. The result? Lighter and stiffer boat than the others.

Doug Peterson layout
Peterson showed up in Sardinia with only (for the time) four winches on board and finished with a second place, the result of a penalty for a contrary passage of the Asinara buoy, after winning all the other trials and leaving everyone speechless with his performance, including Admiral Straulino, who won that race with Ydra. Today, after a wonderful restoration that brought her back to her former glory, you can meet Ganbare on the race courses of vintage and classic sails. To be admired.



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