A new full-hull, rigged model of Dorade is in the offing. The model will represent the yawl as she was when she won the Trans-Atlantic Race in 1931. The scale will be 1:32, or 3/8″=1′, and this will produce a finished model 19-1/2″ long. The first step toward creating a new ship model involves gathering information. Although I had seen Dorade occasionally over the past 50 years, it was time to take a close look. I visited the boat at LMI, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
The digital camera is the model builder’s friend. I captured about 360 images. Most of these were made aboard the boat as she lay at the float, and they focus on all sorts of features. Among many other things, details of the joinery are important to me. This image of the skylight over the forward berthing compartment shows how the hatch coaming and skylight relate to each other, how the glass lights are protected by bronze rods, the wire mesh in the glass, and the type of hinges used. On this skylight, with its ridge athwartship, I believe there are scuppers in both ends of the peak. But, in skylights whose ridges are fore and aft, there are only scuppers in the lower ends; water will drain with the sheer.
Even though original plans of Dorade are extant, they don’t show everything. This image is one of a series taken from the pier along the length of the boat. Each image aligns a pair of port and starboard lifeline stanchions. The images make it possible to register the fore-and-aft placement of many smaller items not found on plans.
When I visited her, Dorade had been unrigged in preparation for trucking to the West Coast. This made it possible to take photos of components of the rig that would be difficult to see from the deck because of distance, perspective, and foreshortening. Although many details are different now than in the yacht as originally rigged — most obviously, there were no electronics — images of the current spars provide information about mass and scale.