In the mid-1970s, Peterson's designs dominated offshore racing events, with a string of winning high-profile IOR boats such as Ganbare, Gumboots, Kindred Spirit, Vendetta, Racy, Great Pumpkin, Petrified, High Noon, Anabelle Lee, High Roler, Country Girl ( Half Ton ), Louisiana Crude, Stinger, Checkmate, Eclipse, Yena, Rubin, Ragamuffin', and Moonshine. He also designed several other stock racers such as the Contessa 35, the NY 40, the Baltic DP Series and the Serendipity 43 production runs from the Louisiana Crude lines. Also the Australian built Seaway 25 quarter ton Trailer yacht.
He was not implicated in the scandal involving the Seymour Sinnett/Dennis Connor expulsion from yachting during the SORC in the early '80s, where one of Sinnett's Williwaw yachts, designed by Peterson, was found to have been measured out of trim, in violation of the IOR Rule and the IYRU rule for fair sailing and sportsmanship.
Designed for Jack Kelly Yachts, the Peterson 44 debuted in 1976. This boat was a pioneer in performance cruising yacht design and one can still see many of the over 200 built in ports around the world. The design was followed by the Kelly Peterson 46 of which 30 were built, hull number 30, the last one built, is currently circumnavigating the globe. Also the Liberty 458 and the Delta 46 were based on this design.
The Formosa 46, or "cheaterson", is an enlarged copy of the Kelly Peterson 44, and is referred to as a cheaterson by the yachting community because Doug Peterson did not get any royalties for the design.
In the early 1980s Hans Christian Yachts commissioned him to design their 48 and 52 Christina models. "I have designed the Christina 52 to have great speed with a very comfortable motion and it is designed as a pure cruising boat."
Peterson later entered the America's Cup circle as a key design member of the winning 1992 America3 and 1995 NZL 32 Black Magic Team New Zealand design teams. In 2000, Peterson designed the winning Louis Vuitton Cup boat for Prada Challenge.
- "Doug Peterson". Nautical Quarterly. No. 11 (New York, N.Y. : Nautical Quarterly). 1977.
- "Louisiana Crude Articles". The Serendipity 43 Blog.
- Mate, Ferenc (1993). Best Boats to Build or Buy. WW Norton & Co.
- "Doug Peterson 52 Feet". 1996. Yachting American Magazine. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Lloyd, Barbara (1995-05-11). "YACHT RACING; Secret of Black Magic's Success is in the Design". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2008-03-04.