Legendary Sailing Yacht Returns to SF Bay to Raise Funds in Fight to Cure Leukemia & Lymphoma
19 October 2012
October 21 Regatta pits Dorade’s All-Female Crew led by
JJ Fetter against Ted Turner on Santana
Dorade(www.dorade.org): In 1936 Dorade helped put the Saint Francis Yacht Club on the map, winning the prestigious and demanding TransPacific race to Honolulu. This weekend she returns to San Francisco to sail under the St Francis burgee once again in the seventh annual Leukemia Cup Regattataking place on Sunday, October 21. JJ Fetter, a four-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, will lead an all-female, all-star crew aboard Dorade, sailing in the invitation-only classic yacht division against another historic racing yacht, Santana,helmed by Ted Turner.
“What a perfect way to bring Dorade home,” said Dorade owner Matt Brooks. “She is the only boat to have ever won, handily, every major ocean race; and even today, she’s still competing and winning in races from Newport to the Caribbean, and now here on San Francisco Bay.”
Dorade was designed by the legendary Olin Stephens, creatorof six out of seven successful America’s Cup defenders between 1958 and 1980. Olin and his brother Rod Stephens designed and built Dorade in 1929. In 1931 – at the ages of 20 and 22 – they sailed Dorade in the TransAtlantic Race, winning against a fleet of much larger boats and more experienced crews. That win was followed by an extraordinary series of victories in the Fastnet, Cowles, and Bermuda races. In 1936 San Francisco’s Jim Flood purchased Dorade and brought her to San Francisco. Since then, she has changed owners many times, sailing the west coast, Europe, and most recently in Newport, Rhode Island.
In 2010, Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy went to Newport in search of a classic yacht, and were immediately entranced by Dorade’s history and pedigree. Rather than keep her as a museum piece, however, the pair decided to do something that many thought was impossible: restore her to full ocean-racing capacity.
“We needed to toughen up Dorade herself, but we also needed to develop a stable of crew members with the right skills, chemistry and experience to race a classic boat in trans-oceanic races.” said Brooks. “Races like the Leukemia Cup help us prepare both the boat and our crew for the kind of long-range sailing she hasn’t seen in decades, keeping in mind that while she may be game, she is also an eighty-year-old lady.”
“Our goal is to repeat all of her early ocean races, including Newport-Bermuda which we completed this past this June, the TransPac and Newport-Bermuda next year, and in 2015 the TransAtlantic, Fastnet, and Cowes,” said Dorade owner Pam Rorke Levy. “In her early years, Dorade won all of these ocean races, a record that stands unbeaten today. We are pleased and honored that her return to the Bay begins with the Leukemia Cup Regatta.”
Along with Levy and Fetter, Dorade’s crew for the Leukemia Cup is an all-star team comprised of Liz Baylis, Paige Brooks, Melinda Erkelens, Melissa Purdy Feagin, Laurel Gaudet, Pam Healy, Genny Tulloch and Sally Lindsay Honey – wife ofAmerica’s Cup technology director Stan Honey.
A native of San Leandro, California, Brooks learned to sail in Monterey Bay as a boy, and went on to race on San Francisco Bay on his first yacht Quarter Pounder, sailing under the St. Francis flag. Brooks is also a well-known mountain guide, and over the past forty years has racked up first ascents in the Sierra and the French alps, established a mountaineering equipment company, and has been honored with a Presidential Gold Medal and a lifetime achievement award from the American Mountain Guides Association. Since soloing as a pilot at age 13, Brooks has also set many world records in the air, including the record time for circumnavigating the globe (westward) and flying westward across the US, all in a specially equipped Citation business jet. Levy is an Emmy-winning filmmaker and creative director, well known to Bay Area audiences and the arts community for creating and producing such shows as KQED’s arts program Spark.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS):
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services. Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. www.lls.org