Dorade spends her off-season inside a sturdy framed tent at the LMI boatyard, in Portsmouth, R.I.. Loughborough Marine Interests has been a consistent and critical resource for Team Dorade ever since the yacht’s major restoration 10 years ago.
Structurally, the classic Sparkman & Stephens yawl has remained in excellent condition for several years, and according to Joe Loughborough her topsides and bottom are in good shape. As a result, varnish and paint have been key points of focus in recent years.
“Last year, we repainted and revarnished every square inch of the interior,” says Mike Fletcher of Makai, Inc., in Bristol, R.I. Work on exterior surfaces included new veneers on the coamings, which required 10 coats of varnish, six coats on the cap rails, and three coats elsewhere. Makai even disassembled and revarnished all of the wooden blocks used on deck.
In 2020, after working on another job in Michigan, Mike and his team of John, Lili and Alison returned to Rhode Island, quarantined for two weeks, and then got to work on Dorade, applying a standard seasonal “maintenance build” of three coats of exterior Epiphanes varnish. That included the cockpit coamings, cap rails, cabinhouse and butterfly hatches, which is no small amount of surface area. Taping the fittings and laying down a covering surface for the teak deck alone takes two people a day and a half.
When Loughborough moves Dorade out of her tent into the sunshine and puts her in the water, the results of the team’s work will look extraordinary. Joe points out the challenge of varnishing what he estimates are ”15 eras of mahogany, all of different colors,” something most observers won’t notice on launch day. To those with the keenest eye for such distinctions, of course, it is simply part of the beauty of a 90-year-old classic, ready to sail again.