Yacht designer Doug Peterson is among the class of inductees nominated to the 2019 National Sailing Hall of Fame. Hailing from San Diego, Peterson — a revolutionary yacht designer whose credentials extended into multiple winning America’s Cup campaigns, offshore racers and iconic West Coast cruising boats — passed away in 2017 at the age of 71.
Gary Jobson wrote a remembrance about Peterson on the National Sailing Hall of Fame’s (NSHOF) website: “The year is 1979 as yacht designer Doug Peterson rides on the transom of a Six Meter on Puget Sound. He is staring intently at the water flowing off the stern. When asked what he was doing, Peterson explained, ‘The wave back here is too big. I am trying to think of ways to reduce the size of the wave so the next design will have less drag.’ The moment spoke volumes about the pragmatic approach Doug Peterson had toward designing fast sailboats.”
The America’s Cup is no doubt the most prestigious bullet on Peterson’s résumé. He was part of Bill Koch’s America3 design team; the boat successfully defended the Cup in 1992. “Recognizing his talent, Team New Zealand hired Peterson for the next Cup in 1995, and they successfully challenged,” Jobson wrote. “His next two America’s Cup commissions were for the Prada Challenge Luna Rossa. The team made the America’s Cup final in 2000, but lost to the home town team from New Zealand. Dozens of yacht construction companies commissioned Peterson to draw the lines for their yachts.”
Peterson was also known for designing cruising boats, including the famed Kelly Peterson, a fleet of which are still sailing the globe today. “Owners have nothing but praise for the performance achieved by this moderate-displacement bluewater design; 180-mile days are not uncommon,” Cruising World wrote.
The other inductees into the 2019 Hall of Fame class are: Sailmaker Robbie Doyle of Marblehead, Massachusetts, who won the America’s Cup as the mainsail trimmer for Ted Turner aboard Courageous in 1977; Captain John Bonds of Annapolis, a leader in creating safety protocols. Olympic Gold Medalist Buddy Friedrichs of New Orleans, who sailed in the Dragon class; Olympic Gold Medalist Allison Jolly of St. Petersburg, Florida, who sailed 470s, and was the “sport’s first-ever Women’s Olympic Gold Medalist,” according to Scuttlebutt.
Also inducted were master ship designer and builder Donald McKay, who hailed from Nova Scotia and immigrated to Boston, and was “at the forefront of the clipper ship era establishing speed records that have stood for well over 100 years,” according to the NSHOF; Everett A. Pearson, from Warren, Rhode Island, who was the first builder of fiberglass production cruising sailboats; and Herbert Lawrence Stone, from Charleston, South Carolina, who “had a robust career at the forefront of sailing as the long-time editor of Yachting Magazine,” according to NSHOF.
The 2019 class will be formally inducted on November 9 at Seattle Yacht Club.