Vintage Yacht Dorade Wins Transpac Again – 77 Years Later

Dorade by HawaiiLast week we talked about change. Today, the focus is on enduring values. The inspiration for today’s blog is Dorade, a 52-foot wooden sailboat, built in 1930. With its varnished mahogany trim and polished bronze hardware, many thought it was a piece of antique furniture, incapable of even making the 2,225 nautical mile course from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Yet, last week, the Dorade won again, as it had in 1936.

In the process, the Dorade beat the most modern carbon-fiber ocean racers in its division. This included Roy Disney’s modern 70-footer, Pyewacket, which had an adjusted time nine hours more than the Dorade. I’m not a sailor, but you don’t have to be a sailor to appreciate enduring values.

Dorade’s owners, Matt and Pam Brooks, bought Dorade in 2010 with the goal of racing the yacht in all the great ocean races the boat won in the 1930s and ‘40s. Rick Spilman in the “Old Salt Blog” describes it this way, “Compared to modern boats, Dorade appears to be a beautiful anachronism. With a yawl rig, graceful overhangs, a narrow beam and built of wood, she seems an artifact of a more graceful time.”

In preparation for this year’s race, Mr. Brooks and his crew spent last winter in California testing sails, navigation equipment and sailing techniques. He had new masts designed and built, in spruce, to handle the additional stress of the new laminated, aramid fiber sails. Dorade’s hull was reworked. Some of the best sailors in the world were brought in to round out the seven-person crew, including an America’s Cup navigator and an around-the-world race skipper. According to the NYT, the crew learned during the 12 day race that the “genius of the boat’s design and how the sailors in the 1930s skillfully sailed her never go out of style.” In addition, navigator Matt Wachowicz added to the historical realism by using celestial navigation all the way to Hawaii. Using modern technology, Mr. Brooks was able to confirm that Mr. Wachowicz had kept them within one mile of the GPS course.

I couldn’t help but think that the Dorade’s 2,225 mile successful sail across the Pacific was similar to successful life-long financial plans. There are enduring values that can’t be overlooked:

    • Have a comprehensive  plan
    • Execute it faithfully
    • Spend within your means
    • Save regularly
    • Allocate and diversify your assets thoroughly
    • Think long-term
    • Consider using the best possible crew and navigator to keep you on course and help you make adjustments as needed

All of us at DWM wish you smooth sailing! If you aren’t sure if your current financial plan includes enduring values for decades to come, give us a call; we can help. We won’t use celestial bodies for navigation, but we are an all-star crew.