Pictured above is the 2013 crew of the Dorade, a 52-foot yawl with a history that dates back to 1935 after they won the 2013 Transpacific Race. Owners Matt Brooks and Pam Rorke Levy come to Biro & Sons to repair and restore the trophies the win in races around the world. Biro & Sons restored the silver outrigger in front of the crew and built a replica for Matt and Pam’s home. Photo by Sharon Green
Sailing on the San Francisco Bay is one of life’s great joys. Indeed, the City has been home to world-renowned sailors and boats since the Gold Rush days.
One of those boats, Dorade, is a legendary yawl with a San Francisco history that dates back to 1935 when James Flood owned it. Flood and his crew sailed her in the 1936 Honolulu Race (later named the Transpacific Race) before winning a number of races up and down the West Coast.
In 2010 Matt Brooks and Pam Rorke Levy purchased the boat. After a year of restoration, the duo took off for a worldwide journey to run the races the Dorade had run before.
Matt and Pam came to Biro & Sons for the first time in 2011. One of their other boats, a six meter yacht, took first place in the Vintage division at the International World Cup in Helsinki, Finland. The Baum + Koing Trophy needed repair, so Matt asked his fellow members at the Saint Francis Yacht Club where to go. The answer was Biro & Sons.
That first visit has grown into a professional and personal relationship, says Pam. “The Biros have done so much for us and all of our boat programs that it’s hard to know where to start. They’ve probably done a hundred plaques and numerous repairs for us.”
In 2013, Dorade won the Transpacific again, 77 years after she won it the first time. In addition to a big trophy, Matt and Pam won a giant silver outrigger canoe.
“Matt wanted to get the canoe trophy repaired,” Pam reports, “because it had not been taken care of properly. Rick completely repaired it, polished it so that it looked new, and put a plaque on it. Then, he made a full-sized replica of it for us that’s in our house and another smaller one that we have with all our other trophies.”
One of the Biro’s bigger jobs for Matt and Pam came in 2012 after they won the prestigious August Ringvold Memorial Trophy at the 6 Metre European Championships in Nynasha, Sweden.
“It’s a gorgeous custom piece that was originally made by Georg Jensen that has a number of custom shields hang off it. They repaired and restored the entire trophy, and then had to create some of the shields that had been lost over the years.”
In addition to repair and restore work, the Biro team helped Matt and Pam create the Lucie Bedford Cunningham Trophy, which is given to the top rated boat with a woman crew member.
“They helped us find a vintage trophy, a beautiful silver bowl, and then adapt it to what we were looking for,” she says. “They created the plaques and designed the base. They’ve done similar things for several other events and regattas where we’ve endowed trophies.”
With a laugh, Pam reports that whenever they get back from a trip with a trophy in hand, their first stop is the Biro’s shop. “We know he’s going to deal with any damage or missing pieces on the trophy and make it look great,” she says.
“Everybody who has trophies or knows anything knows that they’re the place to go for really fine work,” Pam continues. “You feel like you can trust them with things of great value and that they’ll be sensitive to it.”
Learn more about Dorade by clicking here.
Learn more about Lucie by clicking here.