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R.I.P. Laurie Davidson


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My good friend and skilled designer Laurie Davidson has died. I just got an email from Ron Holland.

 

Here is a photo taken two years ago of Ron, Laurie and I when we got together for a day at my shack. We ate well and drank even better. It was a great day of endless yacht designer bull shit. Laurie promised to come back to the shack but now that won't happen. He was a wonderful, warm and friendly guy. I will miss him.

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Seems like every time I open SA someone has died.  I surveyed many of his yachts and had the pleasure of helming The first (Purple) Pendragon.  Fair winds and following seas Laurie.

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As a past owner of a Dash 34, this makes me sad.  Thank-you, Laurie, for all the amazing sailing experiences my crew and I had on your incredible design.  Fair winds...

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I'm so sorry for your loss, and all of ours in the sailing community, Bob.  Seems like just last week, you posted another friend who sailed over the horizon.  Keeping a thought for all closely involved.  Fair winds.

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Sad news. I met Laurie in 1976 in Corpus Christi when he was with Fun, then several other times at various boatyards where he was usually with some new Pendragon. I always felt honored that he'd take the time to talk to a nobody like me. A nice guy who drew some very cool boats.

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Farewell to one of the best. How many other designers had AC winners, world champion Ton Cups, Dinghies (Mythos) and a nice range of ferro cement cruisers? I had one of his IOR40 1 tonners - Archon

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I’m reading “One Watch at a Time” by Skip Novak about sailing/continuously fixing Drum while racing the Whitbread. Says Laurie was the fastest driver and could stay fast and focused for hours. 
Fair winds and following seas. 

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Correct Zonks. Another Lawrie.

Here are some fun photos from our day together. You may have seen them before but now they are very meaningful to me. Tim O'Connell drove Ron down from Vancouver. I invited Kim Bottles, Mr. FRANKIE, over and Laurie came with his wife. Here I am signing Laurie's copy of my book. Here is Laurie signing my copy of my book and here we are at lunch, photo taken by Jill, my wife, having a rollicking good time.

Laaurie 3.jpg

Laurie 2.jpg

Laurie 3.jpg

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There will be plenty of accolades and stories to come from many people over the coming months and I look forward to hearing them. Born in 1925 he had an outstanding career and was a real mentor to myself.

I knew of the legend of Laurie as far back as the mid 1970’s when I was a boy in Canada dreaming of one day becoming a yacht designer. Davidson, Farr, Holland, Whiting, Olin Stephens, Doug Peterson, Bill Lee and more were all heroes of mine. I first met Laurie once I arrived in NZ and started working at Ian Franklin Boatbuilders in the mid 1980’s where we were building a couple of his ¾ tonners.

Years later in the early 1990’s I had set up my own design business in Auckland and we met again when he needed some computer work done for a large yacht he was designing for an American client. We were friends and design partners ever since sharing many design projects together over that 30-year period.

“Fair winds and following seas” You will be missed Laurie.

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So sad to hear.

I think I told you how thoughtful and kind Laurie was during the 1995 Cup in San Diego. My father had been inactive with racing for 20 years or so and was marveling at Black Magic's underbody and foils. Mr. Davidson spent 20 minutes explaining advances in yacht design and answering all of my father's questions. Truly a gentleman!

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That's a shame. But I knew in his early '90's maybe? We didn't swap Xmas cards or anything but knew over the years. This shot (mine) is at the '78 3/4 worlds with the first purple "Pendragon". Pretty radical on the day when we were building pintailish IOR designs by Mull, Peterson etc.

Laurie to the right during measurements being done.

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5 minutes ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

That's a shame. But I knew in his early '90's maybe? We didn't swap Xmas cards or anything but knew over the years. This shot (mine) is at the '78 3/4 worlds with the first purple "Pendragon". Pretty radical on the day when we were building pintailish IOR designs by Mull, Peterson etc.

Laurie to the right during measurements being done.

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Born in Dargaville, NZ in 1926. He was 94 with his birthday looming on Dec12th

 

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1 hour ago, Somebody Else said:

So sad to hear.

I think I told you how thoughtful and kind Laurie was during the 1995 Cup in San Diego. My father had been inactive with racing for 20 years or so and was marveling at Black Magic's underbody and foils. Mr. Davidson spent 20 minutes explaining advances in yacht design and answering all of my father's questions. Truly a gentleman!

I was there too at '95. Inside the box for the actual AC. After a few legs I thought this might very well be over. The next day I wondered into TNZ compound and Laurie, Alan Sefton and my buddy Trev Berry were having lunch at the Gas Dock across from the compound. I bluntly asked Laurie that you guys aren't really not having the clutch on now are you? Laurie looked at me, looked at Alan and Trev and said: "We'll see". Being a little cheeky I think. Bellow is my shot inside the compound after the first race. By race 3 I knew that this was a rout and packed up my stuff and headed to airport for home. 

Thank you Laurie for a memory that will last for a lifetime for me. Sail on Laurie!   

 

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He drew many fast boats but just as importantly they looked damn sexy just standing still.

A firm proponent of the they have to sail well and look right school of yacht design.

SAIL ON Laurie, you had to shout cause he couldn’t hear to well the last few years.

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3 hours ago, Dibley said:

I first met Laurie once I arrived in NZ and started working at Ian Franklin Boatbuilders in the mid 1980’s where we were building a couple of his ¾ tonners.

Sail on Laurie Davidson.

From the owner of Chapter Four, a Davidson designed 780 class built at Franklins in 1985.

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Very sad news.

I appreciate all those contributors who are pulling out Fotos from the legendary designs, which Laurie did. Keep em coming.

Thanks and R.I.P Laurie

(just an admirer of his designs)

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6 hours ago, thefirstpelican said:

Everyone remembers the picture of Starlight Express jumping off a wave in Bass Straight by Richard Bennett.

loved the Davidson 34’s.

always drew nice looking boats.

go hard.

This one?

SHYR86-Starlight-Express-BENNETT.jpg

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2 hours ago, ROADKILL666 said:

This getting old crap is scary fair winds to a great man

As my aunt once said (in her 80's) "It ain't for sissies".

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17 hours ago, Navig8tor said:

He drew many fast boats but just as importantly they looked damn sexy just standing still.

A firm proponent of the they have to sail well and look right school of yacht design.

SAIL ON Laurie, you had to shout cause he couldn’t hear to well the last few years.

Exactly and this seems a very Kiwi thing... simple efficient and good looking!

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Appropos of nothing...what was Pendragon-V?

Off the top of my head, I've got
-- Pendragon (57975), Davidson 34, 1978
-- Pendragon II (77177), Davidson 44, 1981
-- Pendragon III (97000), Davidson 40/1-tonner, 1985
-- Pendragon IV (77000, Davidson 52, 2001 (one of the inspirations for the TP-52 class)
-- Pendragon V _____?
-- Pendragon VI (7744), Davidson 70, 2009

 

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33 minutes ago, sledracr said:

Appropos of nothing...what was Pendragon-V?

Off the top of my head, I've got
-- Pendragon (57975), Davidson 34, 1978
-- Pendragon II (77177), Davidson 44, 1981
-- Pendragon III (97000), Davidson 40/1-tonner, 1985
-- Pendragon IV (77000, Davidson 52, 2001 (one of the inspirations for the TP-52 class)
-- Pendragon V _____?
-- Pendragon VI (7744), Davidson 70, 2009

 

Farr 40, IIRC.

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49 minutes ago, sledracr said:

Appropos of nothing...what was Pendragon-V?

Off the top of my head, I've got
-- Pendragon (57975), Davidson 34, 1978
-- Pendragon II (77177), Davidson 44, 1981
-- Pendragon III (97000), Davidson 40/1-tonner, 1985
-- Pendragon IV (77000, Davidson 52, 2001 (one of the inspirations for the TP-52 class)
-- Pendragon V _____?
-- Pendragon VI (7744), Davidson 70, 2009

 

 

15 minutes ago, Hitchhiker said:

Farr 40, IIRC.

And everybody forgets the Fastest Davidson / Franklin yacht…..

 

 

 

 

The one that could make it to the West End in less than an hour…..

 

 

 

 

And then make it to Doug’s Harbor Reef for Buffalo Milks…..

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, sledracr said:

One of my favorite photos and, frankly, IMNSHO, about the most beautifully proportioned lines of that era

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Infamously won PHRF B and PH overall in '93 Transpac.  IIRC a Hoover was used to declare (incorrectly) a clean sweep!

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7 hours ago, Bob Perry said:

I agree sled. JJF is one of my all time favorite designs.

yep, and NZ blew it leaving it off the team for 82' clipper cup.

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Fair winds after a life lived to the fullest and full of good friends. I was doing bow on a 1 tonner typical of the era during a wet wednesday at MDR when the first purple Pendragon came out for the first time. As Pendragon (sailing in 3/4 ton trim) literally left us gasping in her wake right off the starting line, the owner of the one tonner said: "that's all she wrote...we and every other boat out here are now completely obsolete". How many people in any profession have that kind of dramatic impact?

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58 minutes ago, jhc said:

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Alta Vita

Frank Pong ended up with her and called her 'Jelik 5'. He cleaned up the Asian circuit with her for many years before selling her to Ernest Echauz who renamed her 'Standard Insurance Centennial 3' and again cleaned up the Asian circuit for a number of years. We did a number of appendage and Sail Plan reconfigurations during those times but she's still a hot boat.....

Cent 3 Boracay 2017 2.JPG

Jelik 5.jpg

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As Sloop's Aunt said, "Getting old ain't for sissys"...

I hope, when my time comes, I've lived half the life, and done half the things that Laurie and Ted did.

They lived it well, and I raise my glass to the both of them...well done lads!

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10 minutes ago, Priscilla said:

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Below is Stardancer from another angle.:blink:

Always have to include this photo when she is mentioned.

Moved to PNW maybe 10 years ago.  She sold a couple of years ago.  Wonder where she ended up?  Back to California or hidden away somewhere in PNW?

 

96888779238281829304.jpg

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Raced the QT Cup here in Melbourne in 1983 on the mighty Davidson QT "Ocean Racer Chaser" for 3rd overall, just behind another Davidson, QuarterFlash which was 2nd overall. Great boats, fun to sail. RIP Laurie Davidson, one of the greats in World yacht design.

 

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Davidson Quarterflash 2nd QTC 1983.jpg

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A long time ago, my skipper was looking to build a big boat.  He called for expressions of interest from a number of designers.  Most submitted sketch plans but Laurie Davidson sent a half-model!

A legend - sail on Mr Davidson. 

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Ian Franklin built many of his designs for the US market. Keel half moulds hanging on the old workshop wall that was near the Estuary, not sure what happened to them in the shift to the new workshop? Davie Norris may have built some as well after he went out on his own? Southern Fun was a local racer part owned by Ian. Raced hard and put away wet, us young bucks dreamed of owning a yacht like her. From the school of design, if it looked right then it was right. Thanks for your lifes work Mr Davidson, the world is a better place for your efforts. 

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1 hour ago, See Level said:

One tonner Snook

Whidbey race week, late 90's

Dibley, is that your dad in the red hat?

 

snook2-1024x670.jpeg

Good grief, it could well be. He's turning 90 this week. Erik Bentzen owned/owns her. Originally called Brother Dominic. Legend photo. Thanks See Level

 

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39 minutes ago, Dibley said:

Good grief, it could well be. He's turning 90 this week. Erik Bentzen owned/owns her. Originally called Brother Dominic. Legend photo. Thanks See Level

 

Wow, Tell your dad Brian Parr said happy birthday. Erik sold her some time back after he built the interior out. Wished it was this nice when we sailed her B)

imgp92251.jpg

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In early 2020 i had 4boats on my year old wishlist on Yachthub as potential/dream buys...

I travelled 1900klm’s to view a Farr 1104 that was from an unknown builder and in need of ALOT of love by the pictures...

On the way out to the mooring field in the agents tender i spotted a boat.... A familiar shape, i confirmed with the agent that it was what i thought it was..”Damnit! Dude, shes been on my wishlist for 2years but...”

 He said “shes for sale for $###’s”.

I immediately asked him to pull up to her first....

There she was, moored closest to the rocks, Melancholy,Dull and Tethered like wild beauty should never be..

I stepped aboard, went below,took in what was there and what wasnt.... Called the owner from agents phone, agreed on terms... Then began a love story that hopefully continues for many years.. Although border restrictions have made it impossible for her to be treated as she should be so far, absence makes the heart grow fonder and plans bigger!...

That day I went in apprehensive search of a Farr(ish) and returned with a Legit Davidson..

Today i came to SA to read,learn,see interesting things and find this thread...

I never got to meet Laurie Davidson the Gentleman himself, but thanks to Mr Dibley i stare in wonder at the Drawings Laurie did that lead to the creation of my found treasure and others similar to her.

Framed in pencil at home for my wonder and moored at a distant marina for my future enjoyment, my own little windows into the mind and legacy of a legend.
My condolences and thoughts are with his family and closest friends.

RIP LAURIE DAVIDSON GBNF.

 

 

 

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Did a lot of racing against her,  back in the day when I wore white Line 7s that half her crew have in the picture.

You have rescued one of the greats.

Congratulations & thank you!

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55 minutes ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

Davidson 29 "Kodiak" in Howe Sound out of WVYC.

 

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Awesome design - one of my favourites.  Complete light air monster with 6'+ headroom IIRC and huge very cruisable interior.

Still wish I had been able to close the deal on the sistership back in late 2008.  Unfortunately the volatility of the CAD/USD exchange rate at the time ended up with her being bought by an American by the time the dust had settled in early 2009.

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10 hours ago, FixinGit said:

In early 2020 i had 4boats on my year old wishlist on Yachthub as potential/dream buys...

I travelled 1900klm’s to view a Farr 1104 that was from an unknown builder and in need of ALOT of love by the pictures...

On the way out to the mooring field in the agents tender i spotted a boat.... A familiar shape, i confirmed with the agent that it was what i thought it was..”Damnit! Dude, shes been on my wishlist for 2years but...”

 He said “shes for sale for $###’s”.

I immediately asked him to pull up to her first....

....

RIP LAURIE DAVIDSON GBNF.

 

 

 

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EE8438F9-B6AC-4993-ACCD-A5090EF46DE1.jpeg

You have Singapore Girl?  You are my new hero!

Congratulations, and we look forward to seeing pics of her sailing again soon.  One of Laurie's sweetest designs IMHO.

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4 hours ago, huey 2 said:

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I think that one is a bit of a twofer - two design legends that have passed on in the past few years - LD and I believe that is DP beside him.

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A bit late to the party but here are a few shots of one of my favourite designs of his, because i used to sail on it, the one where we are going upwind was in weather doctor who liked best, we were beating a Cookson 50 at that time and nearly beat them over the line but murdered them on handicap the other are just to show how good she looked.  

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5.jpg

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One tonner Blue Max two that I owned for many years. Thank you MR Davidson for some of the best sailing of my life. You knew how to draw boats that were both fast and beautiful.

RIP.

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  • 1 month later...

One of Laurie's best out racing today in shiny paint and new sails.  Violetta started life as Pendragon whose wins in the 3/4 Ton and 1 Ton worlds are noted above. He's lucky to have owners who keep his boats sailing. Back in the day I had the pleasure of racing with John and Suzie MacLaurin aboard Laurie's 30' Stardancer and the 44 foot  Pendragon.  Laurie Davidson was a very good designer and a great guy.  He generously supplied drawings of his 70 footer Cassiopeia a few years ago when we were asked to help with some changes and repairs so we knew how it was built.  Laurie was a class act who is missed. 

Violetta ex-Pendrgon x.jpg

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