Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Design 7 - Dorade

On July 21, 1931, a sailing yacht named Dorade crossed the finish line a full 2 days ahead of the fleet of larger yachts competing in the Transatlantic Yacht Race of that year. This was obviously a major boost for a young company with a fledgling young designer named Olin Stephens, age 23 at the time.

The boat was built by the Minneford Yacht Yard of City Island, New York. She was commissioned by Olin's father, Roderick Stephens, Sr. Construction oversight was by Olin's younger brother Rod.

Part of the success of that Transatlantic Race was the northerly course taken, albeit with risks from icebergs. This is known as the "great circle" route, the shortest distance between Newport, Rhode Island and Plymouth, England. Here's a chart showing Dorade's course against her competitors. Double click for bigger view.

Dorade crew in England (prior to shaving!).

Having endured 2 years of the Great Depression, New York was looking for any excuse for a celebration so after winning the Fastnet Race as a follow up to the Transatlantic Race, the crew of Dorade was treated to a press conference at City Hall, followed by a ticker tape parade up Broadway.

Here's an image of the crew at City Hall.

And here's a shot of the ticker tape parade.

And an image of a special "Welcome Home Dorade Cew" ribbon. In the image of the crew at City Hall you can see some of the men wearing these ribbons.

And the plans.

And the rest as they say, is history.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 52'-0"
LWL 37'-3"
Beam 10'-3"
Draft 7'-7"


  1. See for current news: www.dorade.org

  2. What an awesome site! Congrats on winning the Trans-Pacific and Caribbean 600. Hope to see her in the flesh one day.

  3. What a wonderful day that must have been for Olin and Rod, boys, really, barely into manhood. And a wonderful day for their father who gave them so much and supported them in everything they did.

    Their route did contribute to the victory. Another important factor was a smooth, fair bottom unimpeded by a propeller or aperture. The difference in boatspeed must be experienced to be appreciated. It is profound. I believe Stormy Weather had an off-center prop and shaft and that Rod pulled them before sailing to Europe where he won the Fastnet, if I recall correctly. No doubt his years sailing six meters had given him an appreciarion of the speed of an unimpeded bottom.

    Paul J. Nolan

  4. As a Uruguayan amateur who sailed on day-sailers in the'50s and '60s I grew up admiring Olin Stephens' designs such as the "Brazil" class 40' racing sloop -an Argentinian friend of mine owned one! Mr Stephens was an idol here in the YCU (Yacht Club Uruguayo, Montevideo) where we had some of his designs including a "Finisterre" class yawl.

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