As a boat designer, Laurie Davidson is best known for his International America’s Cup class sailboats which successfully challenged and defended the America’s Cup Trophy.
However, throughout a long and illustrious career, he became renowned locally and international for designing racing and cruising boats of many different styles and sizes suitable for serious races ranging from one ton day races through to the America’s Cup races. It was his Davidson 28° that brought his name into the households of many New Zealanders and among his best known designs is the VOR 60 Djuice Dragons. In the 1960s Laurie was the most prominent of a group of New Zealand boat designers who began designing keel yachts of an international standard which helped to establish New Zealand’s boat building industry and reputation.
Laurie Davidson is now regarded as one of the best America’s Cup designers since the introduction of the new American’s Cup class in 1990. He also played a role in the design of the New Zealand fibreglass 12-Metre boats (colloquially known as plastic fantastics) that were among the top performers during the 1987 World Cup competition in Fremantle, Australia.
In 1995, Laurie Davidson designed NZL 32 which won the America’s Cup in five straight races and in 2000, Laurie was Chief Designer for Team New Zealand, which again won in five straight races against challenger Luna Rosa. While working with One World Challenge he collaborated with the designers, Bruce Nelson and Phil Kaikoo to develop the team’s two IACC boats.