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Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance


HAMILTON ISLAND, QLD, AUS – What do you do next when, as a mountain guide you have led expeditions on some of the world’s toughest climbs and as a pilot you have broken several world aviation records? If you are serial adventurer Matt Brooks, you find a 88 year-old yacht with a stellar racing record, spend a year restoring the Sparkman and Stephens design to its original glory and then set about beating every race time the boat recorded from the 1930s onwards. Brooks’ yacht DORADE – the first yacht to sport the characteristic ship’s vent after which it’s named – is a classic Sparkman and Stephens design that was so radical and successful in her day that her crew was given a tickertape parade on Broadway after winning the Fastnet Race in 1931. Brooks has already bettered the goals he set for the restored DORADE, having campaigned in all of the classic bluewater races in the United States including winning the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race, 77 years after the boat’s original win. Now it’s Australia’s turn, with the ‘DORADE Down Under Campaign’ in full swing as the yacht’s elegant and sleek lines grace [Audi Hamilton Island] Race Week and, with a crew that would do justice to a top international grand prix sailing program, set to prove that this beautiful boat from the New York Yacht Club is very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Competing for the classic yacht swoon factor on the Cruising Division start line DORADE as some competition in the eye-catching lines of the Hoek designed 78-footer DRUMFIRE from Sydney. With its traditional lines it too is not all it may seem, being only ten years old, built of aluminum, sporting a veneer of highly polished timber and holding an impressive race portfolio. Owners Will and Jane Vickars first spotted DRUMFIRE while sailing in Sardinia, “We walked past it every day and admired it,” said Jane, who took the opportunity to purchase DRUMFIRE and bring it to Sydney when it came on the market. The lesson it seems for those crews of the modern yachts in the Cruising division is to remember the adage [a favorite of our good friend and honorary Australian Andy Rose (USA)], "Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance." –Lisa Ratcliff writing for the AHIRW website. Full story.

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Beaut photos in the gallery above courtesy of our good friend Mary Longpre (USA Newport Beach). Cover photo of DORADE courtesy of AHIRW.