Dorade gets extreme makeover

Published on April 1st, 2014

(April 1, 2014) – Matt Brooks, owner of the classic Olin Stephens designed yawl Dorade revealed today that she has undergone some radical modifications for the up-coming Newport Bermuda Race which starts this June 20th.

“This wonderful old girl has won just about every great race there is from the Fastnet to the Transpac. We had to ask ourselves what more she had to prove,” he said. So he and his team decided to take her to a new level – literally.

Under wraps in an undisclosed Maine boatyard, she received a pair of J-shaped foiling daggerboards as well as adjustable horizontal foils near the bottom of her rudder, all with sophisticated hydraulics controls. Project manager Paul Waring of Stephens Waring Yacht Design said that only Maine boatbuilders have the experience working with both wood and high modulus carbon prepegs to pull off this kind of job.

“The curve of the lifting portion of the dagger boards exactly matches the hull curvature so that when raised they are invisibly flush with the rest of the hull – even painted to match – so her appearance is unchanged,” explained Waring.

Brooks revealed that Dorade’s performance in light air is unchanged, but as the wind rises and the boards are deployed, she becomes a radically different boat.

“The trickiest part of the project has been tweaking the software that controls the foils,” said Waring. “On the AC72’s the helmsman was constantly making minute adjustments, but on a 600 mile race it would be impossible to keep that level of concentration, so we opted for computer control.”

Waring said they opted for the same system used by Oracle Team USA to win the America’s Cup. A device known as ‘Little Herbie’ or ‘Stability Augmentation System’ is equipped with sensors such as Accelerometers and Gyros which can detect and instigate corrections to stability with a speed and accuracy which exceeds the ability of a human.

“I know they denied using it,” Waring said. “But they also denied adding weight to their AC45s. Either way, we are glad they sold it to us.”

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