On December 7th Paul Elvstrom died peacefully at home in Hellerup, Denmark. .
Paul had been a victim of Parkinson’s Disease for many years a condition with which he coped with and fought a long hard battle
I crewed for Paul in the 1966 - 5O5 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia and formed what became a lifelong friendship.
We teamed up again in 1983 for the 5O5 World Championships, again in Adelaide.
Over the last 50 years and after having competed in many World Championships, European Championships. North American Championships and various National Championship, in a variety of Classes, mostly 5O5s, but including Fireball, Flying Dutchman, Etchels, Soling, I can make one profound statement regarding Paul Elvstrom.
He is the only person who I have ever been in a boat with that could make a minor change to the rigging or sail setting and almost immediately identify if it was an improvement or not.
He had an innate and intuitive sense of “feel”.
His sailing record which is well documented, is simply amazing. Apart from his Finn Dinghy Olympic campaigns, he never really “campaigned” any particular class. He just sailed them in Championship events and won !
I hold close to my heart his quote about his favourite boat the 5O5, which he reiterated as recently as 2012, to myself and Earle Alexander when we visited him.
“The 5O5 is reallymyfavouriteclassbecauseitissolively and responsive in all types of wind and sea conditions….afterhavingsailedalltypesof dinghyandalltypesofkeelboatIwouldlike to tell you that no other boat is able to give one so much pleasure as this one.”
Paul was an intense competitor on the race track and always a Gentleman both on and off the water. I feel, privileged to have become a lifelong friend of Paul and his family.
I have lost a great friend and the Sailing World has lost a “legend”.
He influenced and encouraged and motivated a generation of sailors.
He showed the world how it could be done and should be done both on and off the water.
Rest in Peace – Paul Elvstrom”.
5O5 Class President.