All the way back in July, Dorade was lowered into the Mediterranean Sea from on board the ship that carried her across from Bermuda. After emerging from her new paint job in Palma none of us knew what we might come up against in the series of Med regattas we had planned. We knew the competition would be stiff, we have never raced as a team on board Dorade in these waters or indeed in purely classic regattas. We knew we could sail her well but just how would we fare against other classics with highly experienced crews?
Round Corsica was a fantastic warm up. Good competition, stunning scenery and an adventure all rolled into one event. Despite the first day cancellation which we ventures out in anyway in conditions more akin to the southern ocean than the med. The regatta gave us a taste of what to expect in the highly prestigious Regattes Royales and Les Voiles de St Tropez.
We took first place overall and first in class in Corsica, we know however that we had a lot of work to do in the next events especially as we were set to line up against our sister ships Skylark and Stormy Weather. Once again the first day in Cannes was cancelled but the remaining four were fought hard. Close racing with skylark meant some time in the protest room but thankfully we came through unscathed and despite not winning an overall prize, we took first place in our class being awarded a stunning silver plate. Possibly the most breathtaking line up of classics was to be seen at Cannes, with a quirky and eclectic mix of wooden yachts and passionate crews that raced them.
Our final regatta, Les Voiles proved to be another hard fought and close battle. After the cancellation of day one we remaining races were played out in light sea breezes. Identifying the right side of the course and slick crew work were of paramount importance and the Dorade team did not disappoint. Once again we took home first in class, this time winning a beautiful glass trophy.
So it is safe to say it has been a successful season. Having raced fifteen races and claimed thirteen first places and two thirds, none of us can be in any way disappointed. Now Dorade is set for some down time back in Newport RI. After a very busy two years, she will load on the ship in genoa early November and take the easy route back to the USA. Next years program is still in the planning but expect more repeats of Dorade’s historic ocean races.
A big thanks to Matt and Pam for a great summer and a huge congratulations to all the team involved in making the Dorade program so epic!!