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Honolulu, Hawaii – The yacht Dorade, designed by Olin Stephens at age 21 in 1929, is considered the first modern ocean racing yacht. And she won the 2,225 nautical-mile Transpac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu this year, 77 years after her victory in the same race. She beat the most modern carbon-fiber racers on corrected time to win the division and the overall King Kalakaua Trophy.
Dorade’s owner, Matt Brooks, has an ambitious goal of campaigning the yacht in all the great ocean races the boat won in the 1930s and ’40s. He said some told him that Dorade was a “piece of antique furniture” and that “it couldn’t be done”, according to an interview in the New York Times. But Brooks and his crew received the overall winner’s trophy for the Transpac in August, which should silence skeptics.
“What we found was that the boat loves the ocean,” said Brooks, who bought the boat three years ago for $880,000 shortly before Classic Yacht sat down with him for dinner at the 2010 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. “You can tell she’s doing what she loves to do.”
Dorade was designed in 1929 by Olin Stephens, one of sailing’s most successful designers. The yawl was design number seven for the fledgling firm Sparkman and Stephens in Manhattan. Stephens and his brother Rod were at the helm when the mahogany-planked boat made her first mark in the history books, winning the 1931 Transatlantic Race. The designer and his crew received a ticker-tape parade upon their return to New York, launching Stephens’s long career.
Dorade’s finishing time in the Transpac race this year was 12d 5h 23m 18s, knocking more than a day off the boat’s 1936 run. The greatest distance covered in a day, or best 24-hour run, was 224 miles in 1936, but 203 miles this year.