83-Year-Old Yacht Wins Trans-Pacific Race

...a feat it last pulled off in 1936

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 26, 2013 12:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – The boat that won this year's Transpacific Yacht Race was a feared competitor on the cutting edge of sailboat design … back in 1936, when it won the race for the first time. This time, the Dorade was a much less likely winner. When he bought the boat for $880,000, people told owner Matt Brooks that it was a "piece of antique furniture" and that "it couldn't be done," he tells the New York Times. Historic, all-wooden yachts are usually relegated to quick coastal day-sailing races, not 12-day ocean races.

But Brooks fixed the boat up and hired an all-star crew to sail her, led by rising British phenom Hannah Jenner. Jenner and company quickly learned that "old school" steering techniques worked the best on Dorade, and, to top off the historical hat-tip, they used celestial navigation to chart their course. They finished the 2,225 nautical mile race in 12 days, 5 hours, 23 minutes, and 18 seconds, the best for its division, and, based on handicapping rules that account for different boat sizes and types, the best overall of the competition. The kicker? That finishing time was also a full day better than its 1936 time.

An image of the Dorade from 1931.
An image of the Dorade from 1931.   (Wikimedia/M. Rosenfeld)
The Dorade is seen in this photo shot earlier this year.
The Dorade is seen in this photo shot earlier this year.   (Wikimedia/WPPilot)
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