More Dorade videos on YouTube.

It’s not over yet, but due to this atypical weather pattern the S&S 52-foot wood yawl Dorade will likely win the race overall in corrected time, a repeat of her victory in 1936. Impeccably renovated and maintained, her victory may be aesthetically pleasing for the classic boat crowd but will not be a fluke: with a pro-level crew and weeks of sail testing and training, her achievement is the result of having all the right elements of preparation, execution and luck with weather come together.


Photo from the Rosenfeld Archive

In 1929, the brand-new yacht design firm of Sparkman & Stevens was given a commission to design a fast offshore sailing yacht. Built in wood with innovative features like steam-bent rather than sawn frames to keep her light, the 52-foot Dorade was born, and quickly proved to be a breakthrough design. Over the next several years, Dorade won the most prestigious ocean races of the era: the Bermuda Race (1930) the Transatlantic Race (1931), the Fastnet Race (1931 & 1933), and in 1936 under her new owner James Flood, the Honolulu Race as well. No boat has since amassed such an impressive string of victories.

Dorade’s new owners, Matt Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy (or, as they describe themselves, the “current caretakers”) have invested in numerous renovations and upgrades to this wood-masted beauty to prepare her for Brooks’ and Levy’s dream of entering her in all the races she won in her early life. Today she finished the first of those races in an elapsed time of 12 days 5 hours 23 min 18 sec.

“We spent many months and some 30 days of sail training to prepare for this race,” said Brooks, “and it may pay off for us with another victory in corrected time. I brought the trophies this boat won in 1936 and hope to add some more with this race.”