A Light Air Affair
After a light-wind start off Cowes yesterday for the 2015 Rolex Fastnet, Matt Brooks and his team aboard the 52-foot classic yacht Dorade are now 170 miles into the 603-mile offshore race. Up until early morning today, the team held the IRC Class 4 lead, but strong currents off the southern coast of Cornwall combined with just a whisper of sea breeze has shuffled the deck of competitors, leaving many seemingly parked on the water; Dorade is fighting its way out of its current seventh-place standing.
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/