The Sailing World Loses a Legend. Paul Elvstrom.

“You haven’t won the race if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors.” ~ Paul Elvstrøm.

One of the great legends in competitive sailing, Paul Elvstøm has died this week in his home in Denmark; aged 88.

From the Finn, to the Tornado, and almost every Olympic class dinghy in between, Elvstrøm didn’t care what he was sailing. He sailed it well, and he loved the sport. Among many achievements, he won several gold medals and represented Denmark in more international events than you have time to hear; but mostly, he was known for his book.

“Paul Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules of Sailing.”

18 editions, 320,000 copies sold (and that’s just the English ones!) This book is a bible for every racing sailor, and each rule revision is carefully scrutinized on its release, and explained in plain language so even novice racers can understand. When it was first released in 1969, sailors were given in insight into why he was so fast around a race course, and why many called him the ‘Mozart’ of Sailing. Today, that book is still selling, with just a few updates to reflect current rulings.

One more thing, you know the windward leeward courses you sail every week? The ones with a gate at the bottom end of the course? That was Elvstrøm. He thought of that.


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