Dorade has turned Buddy Rego’s head.
Mr Rego is the former owner and skipper of the 41ft Frers design Tsunami. He co-captained a charter, the Swan 48 Hinano in 2000 with the late Bill Riker. The pair later collaborated with the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) to race the 82ft ILC Maxi, Hercules and the J/V 66, Defiance in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
Mr Rego ultimately partnered with Russ Lucas to campaign Vanquish, another USMMA entry in 2010. And he’s crewed on friends’ yachts, as he is in the 2012 Bermuda Race.
But rather than a two-year-old Hinano, or modern USMMA vessel, the Bermudian skipper is a helmsman on the 83-year-old Sparkman & Stephens Custom, Dorade.
Dorade is owned by Matt Brooks, a friend of Jamie Hilton, with whom Mr Rego sailed in 2010.
Mr Rego said: “(Dorade) was built in 1929, so it’s a completely different type of boat, a classic… a significant piece of history as far as ocean racing is concerned.”
He compared the faster, noisier and uncomfortable carbon fibre hulled boats to wooden boats like Dorade, which are slower, wetter and more sea-kindly.
“One is made of wood; the other is carbon fibre. One is like sailing on a fine piece of furniture. They have a completely different motion in the ocean… I like them both,” he said.
Mr Rego recently crewed PIECE in the Heineken Regatta in St Maarten and Les Voiles de St Barths. In each, Dorade came first in class, replicating the boat’s historical precedence for winning.
Designed by the late Olin Stephens, Dorade influenced nearly all developments in yacht design for the three decades following her original launch in 1930. The yawl’s 52ft length (LOA) and narrow 10.25ft beam made her a hugely successful racer.
She prevailed in the three Bermuda Races she undertook, including placing Second in Class B and Third Overall in 1930.
Dorade also took line honours by two days in the 1931 Transatlantic race, and was the overall winner in the 1931 and 1933 Fastnet races.
Mr Brooks said: “Our goal this year is to match Dorade’s record in 1930… Our mission is to repeat Dorade’s early history of competing in major ocean races, which of course established her as the fastest yacht of her time, piling up a record of wins that stands unbeaten to this day.
We’ve been preparing the boat for the past 18 months to sail in these offshore races for the first time in more than a half-century.”
Dorade’s crew trained for the Bermuda Race by sailing in the two regattas mentioned, and in the Antigua Classic. They also did offshore sea trials and the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta/Onion Patch Series.
Mr Brooks plans to sail her in the Transpacific next year and in subsequent years, reintroduce Dorade to the Transatlantic and Fastnet races.
He said: “So much has changed since (the 1930s) with innovations in boat design, but there’s still an extraordinary amount of excitement and anticipation among the crew to see what Dorade — once a breakthrough innovation herself — can do today, racing against other fine older boats and moderns, as well. We know from sea trials that she’s as fast as she ever was, and we feel privileged to sail her and hopefully win with her.”
Buddy Rego’s goal is to “win it (with her) safely”.