Revolutionary racing yacht designer passes away at 71

A significant loss


On June 26th, 2017, The United States of America witnessed a significance loss as the legendary designer of yacht Doug Peterson passed away. Aged 71, he breathed his last on Monday at the San Diego Multispecialty Hospital after a long bout with colon cancer. Known for his revolutionary concepts and breakthrough designs, this yacht designer gave cruising its golden age during the 1970’s.

His career path

This yachting world knew Peterson as a trailblazer in this segment of racing yachts. He first came into prominence at the age of 28  with “Ganbare”; a 34 feet sailing yacht that went on to secure a historic win in the North American One Ton Cup in 1973.

yacht designer

Success saw no bounds as Peterson, in association with Dennis Conner, came up with a number of innovative designs which included ‘Vendetta’, ‘Gumboots’, ‘Racy’, ‘High Noon’ ‘Great Pumpkin’ and significant others.

After a brief period of lull, Doug revived his career in the 1990’s where he made noteworthy contributions to the American and Kiwi yachting legacy.

Notable works of the designer

Working with jack Kelly yachts, he laid the foundation of Peterson 44 in 1976. This yacht emerged to be a pioneer in the sphere of racing vessels. One can still catch of one of these anchored in many a ports around the world.

The later years saw him working initially with Bill Koch’s group and later with team New Zealyacht designerand in the 1990’s. At Bill Koch’s he carved out America3 which went on to defend the America’s Cup in San Diego.  He also designed Kiwis’ Black Magic; a yacht that held the cup for the first time, by defeating Dennis Conner’s Stars and Stripes.

In the words of affiliates

The entire yachting world laid homage to this significant loss. Chris Caulkins, a fellow sculptor said, “Doug Peterson was a man of honor and zeal. His revolutionary design concepts turned the world of yachting head on heels. We are truly disheartened by the loss of this yacht designer at such an early age. Peterson has left the entire yachting world grieving.”

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