Former America's Cup-winning boat designer Laurie Davidson has passed away aged 94.
Davidson, inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 2007, was one of the lead designers in successful Team New Zealand campaigns in 1995 and 2000.
Notably, Davidson helped develop "Black Magic", the famous boat that took Sir Peter Blake and Russell Coutts to a 5-0 sweep over Dennis Conner's Young America to claim the America's Cup for New Zealand for the first time.
In the 2000 campaign, Davidson again excelled. When designers of competing syndicates used the hull shape of Black Magic as a yardstick, he invented what is now known as the "Davidson bow", a forward hanging geometry that provides slightly greater sailing length within the rating. Again a Davidson-designed boat won 5-0, this time against the challenger Luna Rossa of Italy.
Davidson's accomplishments were then recognised in the 2000 New Year Honours, when he was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to yacht designing.
Team New Zealand expressed its grief to hear of Davidson's passing and praised his contributions to the sport.
"Team New Zealand are sad to hear of the passing of Laurie Davidson - one of Team New Zealand and the America's Cup's most famous yacht designers," the team posted on its social media pages.
"Laurie was part of the Team New Zealand design teams between 1987 – 2000, which included the America's Cup winning boats NZL32 and NZL60.
"He is also one of 'The Big 3' (Laurie Davidson, Bruce Farr, and Ron Holland) that came out of New Zealand and dominated international yacht design through the 70s, 80s & 90s.
"Laurie was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 2007 and his influence in yacht design will be a legacy within the sport for years to come. Rest in peace."
Holland - one of the "Big 3" mentioned by Team New Zealand - also posted a tribute to Davidson on his Facebook business page.
"Unknown to him he was a 'Yacht Design Mentor' to me.
"No yacht designer had a better 'eye' than Laurie, he created beautiful fast yachts."