Dorade became the most famous ocean racing yacht in the world. As the first major blue water design to be built to the drawings of her 21-year-old designer, Dorade’s keel was laid just weeks after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and her launching in the spring of 1930 coincided with the slide of the nation into the Great Depression. Despite such inauspicious timing, this yacht, her young designer and youthful, attractive crew became a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic and on both coasts of America. Dorade introduced and validated the early yacht design concepts of Olin Stephens and influenced, in one way or another, nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades. Her rigging and deck fixtures, developed in large part by Olin’s younger brother, Roderick Stephens Jr., still make the name Dorade commonplace today. Her combination of speed, sea-keeping ability, stunning beauty and small size, coupled with her startling racing success, kept the eye of the public on her and on those aboard her.
Dorade went on to place 2nd in the Bermuda Race later that year. The crew for its first race received the All-Amateur Crew Prize. However, it would be the Transatlantic Race that would bring the boat its name. Placing first, she completed the race in 17 days – a race that takes an estimated 3–4 weeks to complete. A parade was held in celebration of the crew and ship’s return with the mayor holding a reception in honor of Olin Stephens’ victory.
Olin Stephens, the designer, was skipper through 1932 when he handed the boat to his brother, Rod Stephens. Led by Rod, Dorade sailed to victory in the 1932 Bermuda Race. From Bermuda, Dorade sailed back to Norway, down to Cowes, England, and finally back to America after winning the Fastnet Race. The victory of the 1932 Fastnet Race was of substantial significance given the unusually severe weather, several ships feared missing as well as one recorded drowning among the events that unfolded.