Friday, January 10, 2014

Sydney-Hobart Winner Had J/24 Secret Weapon!

J/24 sailor Sean Kirkjian- tactician on VICTOIRE- winner of 2013 Sydney Hobart Race(Hobart, Tasmania)- Congratulations to Rolex Sydney-Hobart Winner VICTOIRE and her skipper/owner Darryl Hodgkinson.  Darryl had a “secret weapon” on-board-- tactician and strategist Sean Kirkjian from the local Sydney Harbour J/24 fleet.  Sean has been known in J/24 World sailing circles for decades; he’s a long-time winner at a National level sailing J/24s in Australia.  Sean recently placed 2nd in the J/24 Australian NSW State Championships (see  Next up for him is the Australian J/24 Nationals this coming weekend hosted by Royal Prince Edward YC in Sydney Harbour!

Hodgkinson, a plastic surgeon from Sydney, bought VICTOIRE as a birthday present to himself and told his wife his goal was a two-year plan to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race -- he fast tracked the timeline, succeeding on his first try. This was Hodgkinson’s third go at the race, having competed in 2010 and 2011.

Elated with the win, Hodgkinson said, “This is the culmination of a great campaign, it’s a personal victory and one I share with all sailors who did the race. I feel somewhat humbled to have won.”

The exuberant skipper was quick to praise his mostly amateur crew and put the win down to meticulous planning and preparation. He praised tactician and strategist Sean Kirkjian – a 17-time race veteran – and said, “He’s a wizard, who is just playing ‘ocean chess’ all the time”.  As well he touted Danny McConville (who prepared the boat), Patrick Eadie (the navigator) and their “weather guy” from Perth, Australia.  A great story about how they managed to pull off a surprise win against all the “big boys” which included five Maxi 100’s and two winning Volvo 70’s on the start line with all professional crews.