As a kid new to sailing I remember reading about his near perfect attention to setup and condition of his boats on shore and then the punishment he would give his boats when sailing in almost any conditions.
The true measure of a man is the respect and admiration that is held by those who survive and live by those deeds he has shown. The respect and admiration here is plainly evident and inspiring. Fair winds Paul and may you cross gently.
I was honoured to have met him once in 2000 or 2001. I was working for his protege, Hans Fogh, another Great Dane that we lost three years ago. Paul had stopped by Toronto on his way to San Francisco for a J105 regatta to pick up Hans. After the regatta I was talking to Hans who told me that their crew at the regatta also included Lowel North. He said that the other crew were over heard saying, "Wow!, we can't loose... we have both the Pope and God on board"
I remember when Baron Bich had Elvstrom driving one of his AC 12 meters the talk was that the Great Dane had installed a tiller and was sitting on the rail upwind. lol...never found a picture but, it fit the image I had of him - hiking harder and full gas in big breeze.
When I would be out training around Old Boston Harbor and it was grey, blowing and cold - my head would fill with images from his books and I would tell myself - yep, this is how it's done..
My grandpa was Danish sailor- at one point the King's Rigger, and a Clipper Ship captain who sailed the Southern Ocean- and he asked me once while we we were out in his 45er off of Santa Barbara if I had any heroes, and I told him yes, one, Paul Elvstrom. My grandpa smiled (didn't do that often), told me he knew him, and saidI could find no finer man or sailor to hold in any esteem, anywhere. I was 12.
Mr. Elvstrom was responsible for many things in my life, but 3 of the best of them were
1. training in really shitty weather- like the weather side of the 520 bridge on Lake Washington in November in 35 K. Or Puget Sound in the winter. Not the North Sea, but hey-
2. When we had Bob Perry design Amati, our 40 cruising sled, the first thing I told Bob was that she had to have a tiller with a hiking stick. She had to plane, and have a full with traveler. ( I should have also insisted on hiking straps- I still hike out when she starts to heel.).
3. My Finn, Newport hull 36. Bruder stick, Lowell North sail.
I have wondered recently how I would take hearing the Great Dane was finished with us, and I must admit, I'm a bit misty, but damn it, I'm smiling. A dram of Aqua Vitea to you, Old Viking! I wouldn't be who I am without you.
Inspirational by the ton his dinghy technique book was like a bible as a kid ... always loved his singlehander with hiking seat to understanding sailmaking
thinking about the mast to sail relationship helped sailing an OK with a Bruder mast made out of multiple layers of timber.....used to try and copy his feat of standing on the aft tank and removing rudder then re installing it [weedremoval] then to his Bes with wings so hitech !!? then to sail with years later with Eric Twiname on a 101 hearing allsorts of stories about Paul never met but so inspired again to see him and his daughter contest in the tornado understanding is a great thing to pass to a kid