The 2010 Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race proved the most testing in recent years; more than a third of the fleet retired after being battered by two southern ocean cold fronts while the rest of the fleet went on to sail in fantastic conditions all the way down the Tasman coast.
Congratulations go to two Beneteau’s that came away with divisional wins; Daryl Hodgkinson in Victoire (FIRST 45) led the entire IRC fleet until turning the corner at Tasman Island, only to be beaten by one hour overall - however they won IRC division 2 convincingly.
Daryl said after the race 'The boat goes well in fresh - on the nose conditions. I specifically bought her to do Hobart with hard conditions in mind'.
'We sailed well at night with the kite up and our tactics were good after a solid year of preparation left us very organized.
'The boat was great we had no problems except for a few sail issues but nothing major.'
After finishing on top of the SOPS series Daryl is headed for Geelong race week on the back of an active program and looks forward to the challenge. 'All in all we’re very happy with the First 45'.
Philippe Mengual and his team aboard Paca (FIRST 40) sailed exceptionally to win IRC division 3 after the bruising first couple of days racing.
He said; 'It was superb, we had four races in one. The two fronts, down the Tasman coast and up the Derwent – we had to jump from one cloud to the other.
'The first night was tough on the crew; we lost one to injury for the rest of the race. The boat behaved beautifully, but we looked after her. To win it you have to finish it!
'Crossing the finish line was a fantastic moment; well…an hour after finishing when we knew we won the division was better!!' Geelong Race Week
Audi Victoria Week, aka Geelong race week commences on the 20th of January and has the best of Australia’s IRC campaigners doing battle.
Among them are four FIRST 45’s - Paul Clitheroe (Balance), Daryl Hodgkinson (Victoire), Alan Woodward (Reverie), Bruce McCracken (Ikon) setting the stage for some grudge matches.
There are three FIRST 40’s - John Griffin (Bennie and the Jets), Sydney to Hobart winner Andrew Sais (Two True), Mark Welsh (Wicked), Ashley Trebilcock (Bandit) rounding off the IRC production fleet and stabling it with an array of winning teams.
Brendan Hunt will be in Geelong for the regatta doing morning briefings for all Beneteau entrants.