Dorade completes historic campaignNov 2, 2015
Victories by the yawl Dorade in the 1931 and 1933 Fastnet Races and the 1936 Transpacific Race, launched brothers Rod and Olin Stephens in the boatbuilding business and established them as two of the sport’s most gifted innovators. Following those early victories, Dorade’s design continued to influence sailboats for decades, and Olin Stephens went on to become one of the 20th century’s most respected and successful marine architects.
The 1930-built wooden yawl Dorade has completed a four-year campaign to repeat all of the major ocean races the classic yacht won in the 1930s, finishing up on the podium at the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, where Dorade took second in IRC Class 4 and seventh overall out of 356 boats. The 52-foot boat built by Olin and Rod Stephens was the oldest vessel to compete in this year’s Fastnet and took home three of the event’s most prestigious trophies: the Sparkman & Stephens Trophy, the Iolaire Block and the Coates Schofield Trophy. Finishing the 615-mile race in four days, six hours, 13 minutes and 42 seconds, owners Matt Brooks and Pam Rorke Levy and their seven-man crew cut more than 24 hours off Rod and Olin Stephens’ original 1931 Fastnet winning time.
Dorade first made headlines in the 1931 Transatlantic Race from Newport, R.I., to Plymouth, England, when Olin and Rod Stephens sailed their wooden yawl to victory against a fleet of big schooners.
This year’s Fastnet Race was the final event in Brooks and Levy’s “Return to Blue Water” campaign. The goal of the campaign was to restore the 80-year-old yacht to ocean-racing condition and repeat all four of the major ocean races it won in the 1930s.
In 2013, Dorade won the 2,225-mile Transpacific Race overall on corrected time, 77 years after winning that race for the first time. That win was followed by class victories in the Caribbean 600 and the 2014 Newport-Bermuda Race, as well as second in class in the 2015 Transatlantic Race. The successful completion of the Fastnet Race represents a clean sweep of all four races in the campaign, improving on the yacht’s original performance in every case and exceeding all expectations.
After wintering in Newport, the owners plan to continue campaigning Dorade, beginning in June 2016 with the 50th anniversary of the Newport Bermuda Race, followed by an active summer season in New England. From there, the team will compete in a series of races in Asia and finish with the Sydney Hobart Race in Australia.