Modern sailing racing yachts tend to have plumb bows and broad flat sterns. The Transpacific Yacht Race, a 2,225 nautical miles race from Los Angelos to Honolulu, Hawaii, has been dominated for several decades by these lightweight, high speed, sailing “sleds.” Remarkably, almost unbelievably, this year’s Transpac was won not by a modern speedster, but by Dorade, a yacht designed by Olin Stephens II in 1929 and delivered in 1930. This is actually the second time that the Dorade has won the Transpac. It last won in 1939, seventy seven years ago.
Compared to modern boats, Dorade appears to be a beautiful anachronism. With a yawl rig, graceful overhangs, a narrow beam, and built of wood, she seems an artifact of a more graceful time. Nevertheless, she beat her closest competitor, Roy Disney’s Pyewacket, to Hawaii by just over two and a half hours.
Matt Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy bought Dorade in 2010 and spent more than a year refitting it for ocean racing, with the goal of repeating the many races the boat won in the 1930s, a record of wins that stands unbeaten today. They entered the 83-year-old Dorade in the TransPac against the advice of many in the sailing community, who view the boat as an irreplaceable piece of maritime history.
Congratulations to the entire Dorade team. An amazing performance.