Fair winds to my old neighbor, friend and mentor - the sailing world lost one of the absolutely best sailors of all times this morning. Unparalleled in his tenacity, talent and sense of fair play. Sail on my friend.
He was so cool and his life is a great inspiration
I sailed in Hellerup Sejlklub where Paul was a member as well and he showed up from time to time (he lived close by). Sometimes around 2000 he bought another Finn-dinghy and started practicing again. we raced contenders and had an Englishman dropping by for practicing. Once we did small courses and Paul asked whether he could join for start-training and of course he could. We were totally starstrucked, but we had to pretend to the Englishman that practicing with Paul Elvstrøm was totally normal;- ). He also sailed his dragonfly 25, seing him cruising around enjoying life was pretty cool.
Another story goes that once a little child had big problems getting his optimist up the slipway. Paul Elvstrøm occasionally dropped by and the child asked (crying) "Please help me?" Paul said "it's a single-handed dinghy, you better learn how to handle it yourself...."
A third story from the Olympics where the Finns sailors were practicing before racing started. On a tough day Paul's training partner was a late to the harbour. Paul was already on the water, but was coming back in. The training partner stood with rest of the sailors who didn't dare to go out because of the wind. Swing Paul coming back in, they were like "Paul is a human as well, ahh"
But he made a big swing in the harbour , shouted "join me, wonderful weather" and went back out again. And all the competitors were psyched.....
RIP to the Great Dane. A model on the water, and as importantly, off the water, for all. Even if we cannot sail to his performance standards, may we all sail to his sportsmanship standards. I will keep aspiring to his standards, perhaps with even more verve now.