Dorade sailed a full schedule of regattas in the second half of the 2021 season in Southern New England. There were victories to celebrate, a race or two the crew would like to forget, and in the midst of it all, a cancellation and hasty retreat to Newport when Hurricane Irma threatened Nantucket Race Week and the Opera House Cup.
For Matt and Pam, however, the results weren’t important. “This year was not about winning or losing races,” Matt says. “Just being together again to sail Dorade after the Covid shutdown was fully rewarding, all by itself.”
In early August at the Corinthian Classic Regatta in Marblehead, Mass., which was sailed as pursuit-style racing on consecutive days, Dorade finished 1-2 in the Vintage Division to nip Trevor Fetter’s S&S yawl Black Watch. “We had idyllic conditions for Dorade,” says sailing master Kevin Miller, “a light seabreeze of 4 to 10 knots, building late in the day.”
Dorade and her crew arrived on Nantucket during the following week just in time for all sailing to be cancelled due to the projected track of Hurricane Irma. The crew sailed her straight to Narragansett Bay for a timely haul-out in Portsmouth at LMI before the storm shifted west and came through Rhode Island on Sunday that weekend; happily, it did so with less wind than advertised.
Before the next regatta, the Herreshoff Classic Yacht Rendezvous, the crew took the opportunity to touch up Dorade’s bottom and then headed for the Friday start of the Newport to Bristol delivery race, which was abandoned due to no wind. The main event, a two-race affair in Bristol on Saturday, brought stronger 12- to 16-knot winds, and Dorade finished fourth behind the Herreshoff 40 Marilee, the 12-Meter Onawa, and the 53-foot Herreshoff Neith. On the return race to Newport the following day, the team turned the tables and dusted the competition in very light conditions.
Matt received a congratulatory note afterwards from Ken Colburn, owner of Marilee: “Congratulations on a well-sailed race on Sunday in very challenging conditions. We had to get out the binoculars to see you after the halfway mark! You sailed fast, consistently and seemed to have a remarkable knack for finding the wind (and making it count). Well done.”
Ken concluded: “We have enjoyed racing with Dorade throughout the season and respect your team as the boat to beat!”
The season finale at the Newport Classic Yacht Regatta was a bit of a letdown for the Dorade crew because both days featured a northerly wind and a sea breeze, fighting for control. On the first day, the race started in a dying northerly and the boats that started later came roaring up on the new southerly, relegating Dorade to a 10th place in the Vintage class. On the second day, neither breeze ever gained control, and while Dorade finished much better, her combined result was far below her usual standard.
But that’s sailboat racing, and if we knew the results in advance, we wouldn’t have many boats on the racecourse. It was good to see racing among vintage boats make a strong recovery at several regattas in 2021. Team Dorade will be ready for 2022!