John Winder of Winder Associates recounts his experience working on Dorade.
In early January of this year, I was asked by Matt Brooks to do a thorough condition survey of DORADE. This was in preparation for another intensive year of rigorous offshore racing. The last survey had been done in 2011 in conjunction with the last major refit, and she had covered many miles.
We met in mid January, with the team of Matt, Hannah, Greg Stewart, Joe Loughborough and Jim Titus together in the shed with full winter closing in. After reviewing the previous refit work and getting my marching orders from Matt, I knew I had a full task in front of me. The instructions were “whatever you find, we’re going to fit”! Given the very extensive and beautiful work performed in the previous refits, and given the shore crew’s good service work, I found myself a bit like the Maytag repairman. There has to be something here!
Working in conjunction with the ongoing deck job, I spent a good amount of my time initially, going through the bilges from stem to stern. I could pick out where the major frame replacement work had started and stopped, and I focused on the ends of the boat, where it’s hard to reach. I was able to identify only a few problem areas in the frames, requiring some repair with graving pieces or epoxy. I was impressed that each item I found was repaired almost immediately, as the bilges were being painted, and the new work needed coating.
Schedules were tight, and I needed to work between the thorough jobs being done to completely re-caulk the decks, after the replacement of a handful of deck strakes.
Focusing on the bottom was a real eye opener, as all of the bottom paint had been stripped and every plank and seam was clearly visible. The finished product will be a racing bottom.
When all was said and done, DORADE checked out very nicely with a manageable list of findings that was mostly complete by the time I finished. What a treat to have an up close and personal look at this true pedigree.
Thank you to Matt and Hannah!