Sydney plastic surgeon Darryl Hodgkinson's 50-foot Cookson/Farr design yacht Victoire is the overall winner of the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) named her the winner this morning of the Tattersall's Cup after the only remaining yacht at sea that could beat her, Roger Hickman's Wild Rose ran out of time this morning, still 26 miles from the finish at 7.00am.
However, the CYCA had to run the numbers and be very sure before announcing its member Darryl Hodgkinson and his Victoire had been successful,
Victoire crossed the finish line at 0800 yesterday and became the boat to beat. As time ticked, it came down to Hickman and his Wild Rose, and it was a matter of waiting to see whether he could make enough ground to win the race, but, with the south-westerly conditions, was unable capitalise. Wild Rose is expected to finish at about 1000 today.
Due to slow going, Wild Rose is not expected to finish until lunchtime today.
It means that Hodgkinson has won at his first attempt in the 50-foot fibreglass canting keeled boat he bought from her previous British owner, Chris Bull. Bull also sailed the yacht with great success, having finished second overall in the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart and fourth in 2011 and again last year.
"It's an amazing achievement - and the people you gather around you - you believe in them and they believe in you. It's also having the right equipment. Crossing the line in one piece - we did have a rather nasty Chinese gybe - I had a personal taste of the water,"
an overjoyed Hodgkinson said this morning.
"This morning Katherine (his wife) was recounting how I came home and said I wanted to win this race. It can be a dangerous race, but the boat is so solid - and my crew - they are so good. I thought it would be a two-year program before I had a serious chance to win."
"My philosophy was to buy something tried and tested. It's a real machine, this boat. Cooksons knew what they were doing when they built it."
Hodgkinson had nothing but high praise for his crew, "Sean Kirkjian is the best helmsman around - and the way Danny (McConville) prepares the boat - he's meticulous. The whole crew is fantastic. It's a good win for the Club (CYCA) too,"
Generous as ever, Hodgkinson praised his opposition. "Wild Rose, it was a waiting game - Roger is always a good competitor. Sam Haynes (who finished second overall) was always going to be hot competition."
Asked how he thought the boat's previous owner, Chris Bull might feel, 'Dr Darryl' said, "Chris is a gentleman and has been so helpful. He said he would be very happy for me to win."
Just two years ago, in December 2011, Hodgkinson was named the CYCA's 2011 Ocean Racing Rookie of the Year. Unusually, just a year later, he was named Ocean Racer of the Year following many successes, including winning the Club's Blue Water Point Score with his previous Victoire, a Beneteau 45.
The latest Victoire, built in New Zealand by Cookson's and known as a Cookson 50, but designed by Bruce Farr, wins the race from Phil Simpfendorfer's Victorian yacht Veloce, Celestial (Sam Haynes, NSW) and the German Ker 51 Varuna (Jens Kellinghusen). It also means another "almost" for Victorian Bruce Taylor in Chutzpah, who finished fourth.
So, Victoire not only wins the Tattersall's trophy as overall winner of the race after Wild Oats XI took line honours. Victoire also wins the ORCi class.
The remaining 11 in the Clipper fleet are all about to finish, as are the five Sydney 38s, both divisions having enjoyed close competition throughout the race.
No more yachts retired overnight as conditions around the Tasmanian coast abated and the south-west winds began to give way to lighter and more favourable westerlies.