Matt Brooks, owner/driver of the 52-foot yawl Dorade, was part of this morning’s Rolex Fastnet Press Conference at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse. Brooks was joined by a selection of 9 other competitors all sharing their observations about the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial 600-mile race.
Dorade excerpt from today’s press release follows:
A slightly different battle is between the S&S classic yawls of the 1930s and 1940s: Matt Brooks’ 52ft, Dorade (Fastnet Race winner in 1931 and 1933 in the hands of her skipper/designer Olin Stephens), Christopher Spray’s 53, Stormy Weather (winner in 1935) and the 57ft Argyll of Welsh comedian Griff Rhys Jones.
The boats have done battle previously, but the Rolex Fastnet Race is their most ambitious race. For Brooks this is the last event is a series Dorade has done emulating Dorade’s 1930s successes. “We are pleased because just four years ago, anyone we talked to said it was impossible and thought it was crazy,” he said.
Griff Rhys Jones was hoping for a stronger wind Fastnet for his boat to stand a chance in the ‘yawl-off’. “If it blows up we win. If it gets quiet then Dorade wins. But if we get out of the Solent, we’ll be lucky!” Personally Jones has only been sailing for 10 years, has owned Argyll for five and been racing for even less. “Our boats have to be completely authentic – there is not one shred of carbon fibre. All the spars are wooden. Our spinnaker pole takes three people to lift up into place! We sail pretty much in original form.”
Fastnet Press Conference Cowes
2013 Rolex Fastnet: How to Follow
- Racing for all classes starts Sunday, August 16 at 1200 BST
- Real-time tracking of Dorade will be available through YellowBrick Tracking: http://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/Tracking-Full-Page-Hidden/2015-fleet-tracking-race-player.html
- For live updates during racing, tune into Fastnet Radio at http://www.fastnetradio.co.uk/
- For team updates throughout the race, follow Dorade on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit the team’s website at http://dorade.org/. Hashtag: #DoradeSailing #ReturnToBlueWater
- For event updates throughout the race, follow the Rolex Fastnet Race on Facebook and Twitter. Visit event website at http://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/. Hashtag #RORCFR #RORC
Return to Blue Water Campaign
The Rolex Fastnet Race is the final event in a series of four major ocean races in the “Return to Blue Water Campaign.” Conceived shortly after Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy bought Dorade in 2010, the campaign was initially called “Matt’s Crazy Idea,” but soon after the completion of a year-long refit Dorade began winning races, both offshore and in coastal regattas in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and on the West Coast, proving that she could once again be competitive. The team silenced the campaign’s critics once and for all in 2013, when Dorade was the overall winner (on corrected time) in the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race, 77 years after its first victory with the race. That was followed by an IRC class win in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. Earlier this summer, the team completed Dorade’s most significant victory, the 2015 Transatlantic Race, beating Olin and Rod’s 1931 record by 26 hours and taking second place in IRC 4.
Dorade was designed in 1929 by Olin Stephens and built under his brother Rod’s supervision the following year in City Island, New York. Dorade’s 1931 Transatlantic victory helped the brothers launch their careers and established them as two of the sport’s most gifted innovators. Dorade went on to win many of the world’s most demanding ocean races, including the Fastnet and the Transpacific Yacht Race, and Olin Stephens became one of the most successful yacht designers of the 20th century, responsible for six America’s Cup wins. Brooks and Levy purchased Dorade five years ago; since then the boat has been restored to its original racing form, with the addition of modern safety and navigational equipment. The current campaign has adopted the rigor and discipline of a modern race program, continuously searching for ways to improve performance under all conditions, and relying on the combined strengths of a skilled and passionate team. For Dorade’s full history visit http://Dorade.org/history/