Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race has been won (provisionally) by Roger Hickman.
Wild Rose, Hickman's 25 year-old yacht, completed the 213 nautical mile race at 05.44.50 hours this morning.
Hickman, a veteran ocean racer with string of major ocean racing victories spanning as many years as his yacht’s age, has proved time and again that the age of a yacht is no barrier to winning races.
Hickman’s win, along with the second place of Greg Zyner’s Radford 12 Copernicus, skippered in this race by Jim Nixon in Zyner’s absence, and third placed Victoire, the Beneteau 45 owned by Darryl Hodgkinson, secured a treble for the CYCA, where all three owners are members.
With all but one of the original 18-boat fleet now finished, the CYCA’s 2010-2011 Bluewater Pointscore Series (BWPS) has been decided in favour of Stephen Ainsworth and his Loki. The Reichel/Pugh 63 has been the standout yacht of the past 18 months and much of the credit must go to her crew.
Ainsworth won the 2010 Audi IRC Australian Championship and the Audi Docklands Invitational in January, netting him two brand new luxury Audi vehicles; an A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI Quattro S tronic valued at over $90,000 and an A4 Avant to drive for 12 months for the latter event.
Victoire’s chance of stealing the Blue Water Pointscore from under the bow of Loki ended this morning. Her third overall was not enough to overcome Loki in the seven-race series of which Ainsworth won the first four races, finishing the Series with a seventh overall in this Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race.
'We’re heading straight back to Sydney – I’m glad it’s over – it was a real drift just to get to the finish,' Victoire’s owner Darryl Hodgkinson said this morning of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s final race of its 2010-2011 Blue Water Pointscore.
'We’ll be revving the engine as fast as it’ll go,' added Hodgkinson, who also won the use of an Audi A4 Avant for his Division B win in the Audi Docklands Invitational. Both he and Ainsworth are thrilled with their Audis.
Hodgkinson, a plastic surgeon, finished the race second overall last year, but was not aware he had made the podium again as he turned his boat’s nose for home. What he does know is that his Beneteau First 45 has finished the BWPS second to Loki, with Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin third.
'We’ve achieved what we’ve wanted to achieve – Loki is a hard act to beat – but we’ll be back to give it another go next season,' the doctor said, conceding: 'Today’s nor’ easter was delightful. We turned the Audi mark right on dusk. It made amends for last night, which was a shocker – we sat around a lot waiting for breeze. Sean (Kirkjian) called all the sail changes and tactics – he called it just right.
'It’s been a great year for us – we are happy with ourselves – and with the boat,' he said.
Copernicus’ great result gives her the Tasman Pointscore from Victoire and Loki, while Ragamuffin provisionally wins the Cape Byron Series from Colin and Gladys Woods Pretty Fly III and Copernicus. Yachts dwindled in all night long and through early this morning, Pretty Fly III, Ragamuffin, Pirelli Celestial and Southern Excellence, the first few that followed Loki over the finish line as the night turned into morning.
Pretty Fly III was second on line, close to five hours behind the line honours winner, Loki, which finished in the elapsed time of 1 day, 6hrs, 48 mins and 23 secs, well outside the record of the 15hrs 57min 53sec she set in 2009.
Only one yacht remained at sea at the time of writing; Ted Tooher’s Chancellor. It is expected around 9.30am this morning at the Hunter River finish, a short distance from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, whose patrons will welcome the crew to Newcastle.
Only one yacht retired from the race; Dennis Cooper’s Amante, when time became an issue due to other commitments.
For full race results, visit the official race website: http://sydneynewcastle.cyca.com.au