Many people thought Matt Brooks was crazy to take the octogenarian Dorade, one of Olin Stephens’ first, and most famous, designs, across an ocean. “I was promptly told that just wasn’t possible,” he recalls. “’She’s a fine piece of furniture, you can’t take her out. You’ll ruin her.’”
A full refit and then a run to Bermuda last spring proved those doubters wrong. But even Brooks, a NYYC member, thought it was a little ambitious to expect the boat to replicate some of its more legendary performances including wins in the Bermuda, Transpac, Transatlantic, and Fastnet Races in the 1930s.
“I think that she can win,” said Brooks just days before the start on July 8. “Saying that, just entering an 83-year-old boat will make her the oldest boat ever to have done the Transpac. If we do the race in good order and complete it in reasonable fashion that will be a statement.”
A Historic Victory – Video by Hannah Jenner
On July 20, after 12 days and 5 hours at sea, Dorade crossed the finish line off Diamond Head.
“We thought if we could match Dorade’s 1936 record of 13 days that would be absolutely fantastic,” said Brooks. “We actually beat that record by more than a day. To do what we’ve done exceeded all our expectations.”
According to a Transpac press release, she turned in an average speed of 7.8 knots, which was 8.1 percent faster than her performance in 1936, and also hit a lifetime record speed of 15.9 knots.
As more boats finished, however, it slowly became apparent that not only had Dorade set a new personal record for the course from Los Angeles to Hawaii, she’d also set a pretty tough corrected-time benchmark for the rest of the fleet. On Monday, July 22, it was finally confirmed, the oldest boat in the 2013 Transpac was also the overall winner, taking home the King Kalakaua Trophy as the fastest boat on corrected time.
Brooks sailed with navigator Matt Wachowicz, tactician Kevin Miller, watch captain Ben Galloway, Eric Chowanski on the bow, Hannah Jenner on the helm, and John Hayes as sail trimmer.
“Really there were eight of us on this—seven crew members and the eighth was Dorade—and she didn’t disappoint us,” said Brooks in the race’s press release. “She performed flawlessly and did everything we asked her to do.”
Other club members who skippered noteworthy performances in the race include John Sangmeister, first to finish on the 73-foot trimaran Lending Club; and David Askew, second in Division 1 on the 74-foot Wizard.
Original article posted on the NYYC website found here.