Living , Modern



1951 -

Matt Brooks is an accomplished yachtsman who restores and actively campaigns legendary classic boats, most famously the yacht Dorade. He has become a worldwide ambassador for the sport, traveling around the globe to race his boats and promote the preservation of historic vessels.

n 2010, Matt purchased the legendary Dorade,a 52-foot ocean racer built by Olin Stephens in 1929 and quickly came up with “Matt’s Crazy Idea” – a campaign (later named “Return to Blue Water”) to restore and race Doradewith the goal of repeating the major ocean races she won in the 1930s, matching or bettering her original performance. These races included some of the most challenging and ambitious events in the world of sailing, totaling more than 7,000 miles at sea: the Transatlantic, Newport toBermuda, Fastnet, and TransPacific ocean races. The “Return to Blue Water” campaign was successful beyond Matt’s wildest dreams, as he and his crew bettered Dorade’soriginal times in all of the races, making the podium in every race and winning the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race overall on corrected time – 77 years after Doradewon that race for the first time.

n 2015, the campaign wrapped up with two stellar performances, as Doradefinished second in class and fifth overall in an exceptionally rough and windy Transatlantic Race, followed by seventh overall out of 356 boats and second in class in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Always seeking new challenges, Brooks then set his sights on campaigning Doradein races and venues where the boat had never competed before, beginning in 2017 with the “DoradeDown Under” campaign, an ambitious program of races along the east coast of Australia culminating with the formidable Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Doradewas the oldest boat ever to finish that race and reached the podium yet again, finishing second in her division.

 Doradeisn’t the only winning classic in Matt’s racing stable. In 2011, he purchased and completed the restoration of Lucie, Clinton Crane’s last 6-metre built in 1931, and went on to campaign that boat internationally, winning the Vintage and Classic divisions at the 2011 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. He has reached the podium at every world and European championship since then, including the 2012 6mR European Championship in Nynashamn, Sweden, the 2013 6mR International World Championship in Flensburg, Germany, the 2015 World Championship in La Trinite, France, the 2016 European Championship in Brunnen, Switzerland, and the 2017 World Championship in Vancouver, Canada.

A native of San Leandro, California, Brooks learned to sail on Monterey Bay as a boy and went on to race on San Francisco Bay on his first yacht, Quarter Pounder, sailing under the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee. Matt is also a well-known mountain guide, and over the past 40 years has racked up first ascents in the Sierra and the French alps, established a mountaineering equipment company, and earned the Presidential Gold Medal from the American Mountain Guides Association. Since soloing as a pilot at age 13, Matt has also set many world records in the air, including the record time for circumnavigating the globe (westward) and flying westward across the US, all in a specially equipped Citation business jet. WithDorade, Lucie, and more recently the acquisition of the modern 6mR Scoundrel, Brooks is happy to be in the company of other avid sportsmen who believe “failure is not an option.”

Accomplishments and Honors

  • 2017, Rear Commodore, Royal Ocean Racing Club
  • 2017, Chair, New York Yacht Club Foundation
  • 2014-2017, President, International Six Metre Association
  • 2011-present, Trustee International Yacht Restoration School
  • 2014 Yachtsman of the Year, St. Francis Yacht Club
  • 2013 Mosbacher Trophy, New York Yacht Club
  • 2013 Sailor of the Year, St. Francis Yacht Club
  • Special Commendation awarded by the Cruising Club of America for restoration and campaign of Dorade

Racing on Dorade(his restored 52-foot ocean racer built by Olin Stephens in 1929)

  • 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, 2ndin class
  • 2015 2ndin class in an exceptionally rough and windy Transatlantic Race
  • 2015 7thout of 356 boats and 2ndin class in the Rolex Fastnet Race
  • 2013 1stoverall on corrected time in the Transpacific Yacht Race – 77 years after Dorade’sinitial win in that race

Racing on Lucie(Clinton Crane’s last 6-Metre built in 1931), reached the podium at the following events:

  • 2017 World Championship
  • 2016 European Championship
  • 2015 World Championship
  • 2013 International World Championship
  • 2012 6-Metre European Championship
  • 2011 Vintage and Classic divisions, 6-Metre World Championship

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