84 Years Later, Another Transatlantic Success

Dorade made her first mark in the sailing world 84 years ago when Rod and Olin sailed her to victory in the 1931 Transatlantic Race, and last week the 52-foot yawl returned to Cowes, England after finishing the very same event and beating her original time by over 26 hours, despite racing more than 300 miles extra this year due to the exclusion zone. Led by owner/driver Matt Brooks and six other sailors, Dorade started the 2015 Transatlantic Race on June 28 in Newport, R.I. and finished off the Lizard, U.K. on Monday, July 13 with an elapsed time of 14 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes and 57 seconds. Dorade competed under the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee as an individual boat, taking second place in IRC 4 and the Classics Class and seventh place in IRC Overall.  As a team, Dorade competed with Carina under the New York Yacht Club burgee, coming in second overall in the team competition.


“We were honored to have Olin Stephens’ grandson watching the start of the race in Newport almost a century after his grandfather first sailed across the Atlantic aboard Dorade,” said Brooks adding that Dorade was designed in 1929 by Olin Stephens and built under his brother Rod’s supervision the following year in City Island, New York.  Their 1931 Transatlantic victory with Dorade helped launch the top yacht design firm Sparkman & Stephens and establish the two of them as the sport’s most gifted innovators.

“As custodians of this bit of yachting history, we’re committed to keeping Dorade an active participant in the world of ocean racing, so that our grandchildren can sail aboard her, perhaps even in another transatlantic race,” added Brooks who purchased Dorade in 2010 and restored her to original racing form, with the addition of modern safety and navigational equipment; Dorade’s current campaign applies the rigor and discipline of a modern race program.

Dorade at the Transatlantic Race start in Newport (Photo Credit: Esme Beamish)

Dorade at the Transatlantic Race start in Newport (Photo Credit: Esme Beamish)

The team’s top 24-hour run during the 2015 Transatlantic Race was from July 1st at 2:30 a.m. UTC to July 2nd at 2:30 a.m. UTC, with Dorade covering 313 nautical miles over the ground. Dorade’s top boat speed during the race was 19.4 knots. To put that in context, the boat’s fastest recorded speed during 1931 race was 11.4 knots.

The Transatlantic Race 2015 Awards Ceremony Dinner will take place this Friday, July 24, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight. In the meantime, the team is preparing for the Royal Yacht Squadron 200th Bicentenary International Regatta, which kicks off next week, followed by the Rolex Fastnet Race in August.

Return to Blue Water Campaign:
The Transatlantic Race is the third in a series of four major ocean races in the “Return to Blue Water Campaign.”  Conceived shortly after Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy bought Dorade five years ago, the campaign was initially called “Matt’s Crazy Idea,” but soon after the completion of a year-long refit Dorade began winning races, both offshore and in coastal regattas in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and on the West Coast, proving that she could once again be competitive.  The team silenced the campaign’s critics once and for all in 2013, when Dorade was the overall winner (on corrected time) in the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race, 77 years after its first victory with the race.  That was followed by an IRC class win in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race.  The campaign wraps up this August with the Rolex Fastnet Race, which Dorade won overall in 1931 and 1933.


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