Yacht Style: Dorade
In Fine Company: In a fleet of classic beauties, Dorade, perhaps Olin Stephens' most famous design, still turns heads when her sails are set and the rail is down.
|Also gracing the classic-yacht scene in New England of late has been Spartan, a recently restored Herreshoff-designed New York Yacht Club 50.|
But oh, for a camera. Both days we were overtaken spectacularly by Spartan, 72 feet overall, a Nantucket dowager fresh from her own three-year refit and flying clouds of canvas from a towering topmast and gaff. I think even the darkly competitive Read looked up from the tiller to admire Spartan whooshing by. Then came Wild Horses, with paid skipper Faraday Martin at the helm, steering because her boss, Tofias, had shattered his knee in a fall on the boat a week earlier; and Valiant, the 12-Meter that was Olin Stephens’ big flop in an otherwise brilliant career designing seven U.S. winners of the America’s Cup. Nobody likes to get passed in a race, but if you have to suffer through it, this was the way to go.
So, as the football lineman asks when the cloud of dust clears and he rejoins the huddle, how’d we do? Not so great. The scratch sheet says Dorade wound up 14th of 68, well behind local legend Dave Curtis’ way-too-modern Taylor 38, Rival, the winner. Second was Valiant. Spartan came seventh, and Wild Horses, eighth. There was the usual muted grumbling about handicaps at the Corinthian Yacht Club, where awards were handed out by Nathaniel Herreshoff’s grandson, Halsey Herreshoff. Halsey sailed with Dennis Conner on Stephens’ final winning America’s Cup 12-Meter, Freedom, in 1980.
Dorade was off the next day to Rhode Island, sailing under the careful guidance of paid skipper Ben Galloway and Laurel Gaudet. There they’d pack her for transit to the West Coast, where she’ll be reassembled and readied to grace the America’s Cup summer in San Francisco and do the Transpac back to Hawai’i. Under Brooks’ aggressive plan, she’ll be up and down the U.S. West Coast, redoing events she won in her prime, then head to Newport, Rhode Island, for the start of the Transatlantic Race in 2015. Dorade is in respectful hands.
For two nights I shared a room with Stewart at the Eastern Yacht Club, overlooking the harbor, but the last night I felt compelled to sleep on Dorade, in one of the tiny “coffin berths” that Rod and Olin occupied on their historic Transatlantic Race 80 years before, when they beat the fleet to England by two days and shocked the world, winning themselves a New York ticker-tape parade when they came home.
They built folks smaller back then. I wedged my beefy shoulders into the little bunk and wondered how a fellow could hang on in heavy seas, bolstered only by a slender bunk board. But sleep came easily, and when I got up in the middle of the night, as geezers do, and slipped silently to the transom, to perch there on that impossibly tiny, shiny platform and stare down the moonlit length of the seagoing dart that took Olin Stephens to glory those many years ago and hear the little waves lapping at her sides, there was no place on Earth I’d rather have been. Not one.
Angus Phillips is a CW editor at large.
This article first appeared in teh July 2013 issue of Cruising World.