Here’s how Olin Stephens described his decision to build Dorade back in 1929:
“The scenario must be as old as sport. Competition builds along certain lines which suit the participants and thus a norm is established. From year to year marginal advances are the rule. Then along comes someone, something of an outsider and more single-minded in his efforts to win, who seizes an opportunity that is obvious to him though unrecognized by the routine participants. The new player exploits a new way that offers a winning margin. I have wondered whether this is good for the sport, yet I recognize it as part of the game. It keeps competitors on their toes. In 1929 I sensed the opening.”
At the time Olin sensed the opening, he was 21 years old.
At that age, it wasn’t reasonable for his parents to give him $28,000 to build the boat he was envisioning… especially as the depression was just beginning.
Not reasonable of him… to think that he knew better than his professors at MIT… how to build a fast boat.
Not reasonable of him to think that he could win the TransAtlantic with that boat, against a fleet of bigger, better equipped boats with experienced crews.
And in 2010, when Matt and I went shopping for a boat… Dorade was a completely unreasonable choice. We thought at the time it would be nice to find a boat to do a little day sailing on the bay. Instead we ended up with a classic boat 3000 miles from home. Completely unreasonable. And it was unreasonable to put her into refit for a year… and unreasonable to race her in the Caribbean… and it was unreasonable of Matt to think that she would ever race in the ocean again.
And so, if this whole experience has taught me anything, it’s that being unreasonable… is the place to start any great endeavor.
So here’s my toast… to Olin… for the wisdom of his youth… his unreasonable pursuit of perfection… and the extraordinary boat that was the result of both… and to my unreasonable partner Matt… for bringing Dorade into our lives… and taking us places I never dreamed of going.
Dorade TransPac Celebration at the St Francis Yacht Club
Transcript of toast given by Pam Rorke Levy 9/20/13