For those who would question the viability of an America’s Cup defense effort sponsored by the Beach Boys, the pop band made famous by its music about surfing, San Diego’s Doug Peterson had an answer Sunday.
Peterson, skippering Flambuoyant, a yacht he built 10 years ago, won the overall championship of the Sunkist American Cancer Society Cup in San Diego Bay for the second year in a row. Flambuoyant, racing in the small-yacht ‘B’ class, was the fastest sailing boat for its size among the 25 entries.
The boat’s success is strong testimony for Peterson’s designing ability. Flambuoyant was one of the oldest and smallest yachts on the course. When he built the 41-foot boat in 1980, he introduced changes in length, sail area and weight distribution that have since become standard.
Peterson, 45, is one of three designers now working with Beach Boys USA, a Southern California syndicate bidding to defend the America’s Cup. Peterson, who has become internationally recognized since he started Peterson Designs, Inc. in 1973, said he is excited about being involved in the America’s Cup for the first time and he likes Beach Boys USA’s chances.
“We feel we’re way ahead of the other syndicates in our design,” he said. “We have a lot of momentum. But at the same time, we’re way behind the Italians. They’ve already got two boats in the water. The Japanese are about to put two boats in the water.
“It’s not just a yacht race, though. It’s a race for technology.”
Judging by the success of Flambuoyant, Peterson seems to know a little about technology. He originally sold the boat after he diagrammed and built it in 1980. But he loved the design so much, he bought the boat back when the original owner wanted to sell it years later.
“It’s not world class, but it was one of my more successful designs that year,” Peterson said. “That’s why it’s still good now. In 1980, it was way ahead of its time.”
Taxi Dancer, a flashy new 70-foot long yellow boat skippered by Mitchell Rouse of Long Beach, won the ‘A’ class for large yachts. Because of its larger size, Taxi Dancer ran a much quicker race than Flambuoyant but finished third overall after each boat’s times were handicapped.
Impact, a 39-foot ‘B’ class yacht skippered by Margaret Swagemakers, finished second overall.