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Sweet victory: victoire ends the year with blue water pointscore victory.

Darryl Hodgkinson has capped of a stellar year in sailing by winning the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Blue Water Pointscore (BWPS), following Victoire's 17th overall and Division 3 win in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart

For the first time in the history of the six race series, the BWPS finished with the non-discardable Rolex Sydney Hobart, making for an exciting end with the winner announced at the Hobart race's official prize giving.

For Hodgkinson, who only entered the world of ocean racing in 2010, it has been an extraordinary rise to the top and the plastic surgeon refers to his BWPS win as "my crowning glory."

Finishing second overall to Loki in the previous BWPS showed the promise to come and amounted to Hodgkinson having the right people around him. "Sean Kirkjian, Danny McConville and Phil Eadie - I couldn't have done it without them," he said.

The Sydney yachtsman's BWPS victory looked precarious during one stage of the Hobart, when the wind died and Victoire, along with AFR Midnight Rambler and Balance fell down the leaderboard, while main rivals, Loki and Ragamuffin were perched at the top of the standings.

Victoire hung in, her Flinders Islet and Cabbage Tree Island wins keeping the Beneteau 45's chances afloat. Even a 20 minute penalty under SI 44.2 during the Hobart race did not stop her from triumphing over second placed Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin and third placed AFR Midnight Rambler, owned by Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Benesik.

Even though Stephen Ainsworth's Lokiwon the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the first two races of the BWPS, the defending champion finished one point outside the top three, courtesy of 16th places in two of the races which were better suited to her smaller opponents.

"Stephen has been a great competitor," Hodgkinson said of Ainsworth and his Reichel/Pugh 63's performance. "It's great the Blue Water Pointscore finished in Hobart and a clever format making the Hobart a non-drop race.

"The whole series we had Lokiand Ragamuffin breathing down our necks - it was very competitive and it's the pinnacle of racing. I'm very proud to have won the Blue Water Pointscore - it's a serious achievement," said Hodgkinson, who said it was too early to make any commitments for next season. 1

The Flinders Islet and the Cabbage Tree Island Yacht Races were included in his BWPS win. Earlier in December, Hodgkinson, who is a member of the CYCA, was crowned the Ocean Racing Rookie of the Year in the annual awards hosted by the Club.

'Dr Darryl' also won Class B of the 2011 Audi Australian Championship after stitching up Division B at Hamilton Island without having to sail the final race, such was his Beneteau 45's performance.

Hodgkinson was keen to have it noted that "Katherine (his wife) bought me a brand new No. 4 headsail for Christmas and that definitely helped us get to Hobart. I doubt our old sail would have held together in the southerlies we encountered along the way."

True to form, Ragamuffin figured in the podium places again. Fischer has won the BWPS a record nine times and has not been off the podium for years, including a third last year. AFR Midnight Rambler shows great promise, but being brand new, was not ready in time for the opening race of the series and her Hobart result let her down.

For the second year in a row, Ragamuffin won the Cape Byron Series (ORCi). It is no secret Fischer is an advocate of the rule and he was pleased to win. The Series had 20 starters as opposed to 10 last year. "That's good news, I'm pleased with that," Fischer said. Victoire was second and AFR Midnight Rambler third, in a reversal of the IRC results.

The Tasman Performance Series (PHS) came right down to the wire, and even at the end of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the top three finished on an equal 34 points. Further, the top two each showed a win on their scorecards, so close was this series. NSC Mahligai, the Sydney 46 of Murray Owen and Jenny Kings were the winners in the end.

Representing Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in New Zealand, the two owners battled with Phil Molony's Archambault 40 Papilion and Tony Levett's Sydney 38 Eieni, both of which had better Rolex Sydney Hobart results than NSC Mahiigai. One place further down the ladder would have cost Owen and Kings the pointscore.

The prestigious Blue Water Pointscore consists of six races, starting with the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July and ending with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

In between, the 28 entrants contested the Bird Island, Flinders Islet, Cabbage Tree Island and Lion Island-Botany Bay races.



Darry! Hodgkinson's Beneteau 45 Victoire has been crowned the CYCA's2011 Blue Water Pointscore Champion.
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Author:Pearson, Di
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Feb 1, 2012
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