Over its long history since first being sailed in 1906, the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpac race has attracted a rich diversity of boat types, and among the nine additional entries that today crossed the finish line today at Diamond Head, there were two outstanding examples of the opposite ends of the spectrum in race boat design and build technology.
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.”
Finishing a few hours later but due to a later start with a much shorter elapsed time (7 days 7 hours 53 min 46 sec) was a yacht representing the other end of the yacht design spectrum. David and Peter Askew’s Reichel/Pugh-designed 74-foot Wizard was built in 2008 in pre-preg carbon fiber, honeycomb core, and the most modern materials available today – very different than Dorade‘s oak, fir, teak, cedar and spruce. But Askew has a similar dream as Brooks.
“I’ve done a lot of racing around buoys and in the Great Lakes,” said Askew, “but now I want to do the world’s great ocean races too. We did the Bermuda Race, and now the Transpac, and the Transatlantic Race in 2015 is on my list too.”
To read more about Dorade, click here.