The Classic Yacht Dorade - “The Mother of Modern Ocean Racing” - Setting Sail For The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten (February 16, 2012) – There are few U.S. yachts as famous or celebrated as the 52-foot yawl Dorade, built at the Minneford Yacht Yard in City Island, New York, some 80 years ago. Designed by a young naval architect named Olin Stephens - the creator of multiple America’s Cup winners and the founder of the legendary Sparkman & Stephens design firm - she was an immediate success, the winner of the epic 1931 Transatlantic Race.
When Olin and his brother, Rod, who both helped sail Dorade to victory, returned to New York, they were treated to a tickertape parade through the streets of Manhattan. Now, Dorade is once again ready to make history, but this time in a far different, much sunnier venue: the 32nd annual edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
With two weeks to go before the competition gets underway, the entry list now tops 160 yachts and continues to grow daily. But no other entrant will have the pedigree and tradition of Dorade, which earned the nickname “the mother of modern ocean racing” for her Transatlantic triumph. Dorade will use the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, and other Caribbean events this spring, as a tune-up for this summer’s Newport-Bermuda Race, which takes place in late June.
“She was shipped to the islands last November to get more sailing under her bottom before the Bermuda Race,” said yacht designer Greg Stewart of the California naval architecture concern Nelson-Marek, who will be aboard Dorade for the St. Maarten Heineken “It was 1934 the last time she was sailed to Bermuda!”
Dorade was purchased by San Francisco sailor Matt Brooks, a member of the prestigious St. Francis Yacht Club, in the fall of 2010. Shortly after, she underwent an extensive refit at the LMI yard in Newport, R.I., including the addition of an engine (her previous owner had removed the power plant and other modern conveyances, returning the boat to the same layout and configuration as when she was originally launched eight decades ago).
“The (initial) refit,” said Stewart, “expanded into a more major refit that continued over the spring of 2011.” Among the projects undertaken to prepare Dorade for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and offshore racing included structural repairs to the stem and stern post; new main and mizzen masts with all new bronze hardware; new mast and deck winches; a new rudder; a brand new electrical system; new navigation electronics, including radar and an Inmarsat satelitte communications system; and a new galley arrangement and stove.
“That’s just a summary of the work that was done,” said Stewart. “The effort was huge. The level of fit and finish is spectacular.”
Spectacular: The word describes not only this magnificent yacht, but also what’s in store for the 32nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, now just days away.
For full information on the 2012 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including entry information, the Notice of Race, photos, videos, party and band information, and much, much more, visit www.heinekenregatta.com