On June 28, the legendary ocean racing yacht Dorade will attempt to repeat her first and most significant victory when she embarks on the 2015 Transatlantic Race from Newport, R.I. to Plymouth, U.K.
The 52-foot yawl first made her mark in the sailing world in 1931, when her then-21-year-old designer Olin Stephens, along with his brother Rod, their father, and four other young amateur sailors, raced her to victory in the 2,800-mile race across the Atlantic.
Dorade’s 2015 crew, led by owner Matt Brooks (San Francisco, Calif.), has its sights set on finishing the race in good order again this summer, 84 years after the first victory, and beating Dorade’s time of 17 days, one hour and 14 minutes.
The Transatlantic Race is the third 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. The campaign wraps up this August with the Rolex Fastnet Race, which Dorade won overall in 1931 and 1933.
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/