Irish and French entries live the dream in 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
For Jonny White, racing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, let alone finishing it, was a dream that he has woken from and now accepts is real after crewing on HYC Breakthrough.
White, a member of the Irish crew that sailed on the Beneteau First 40 HYC Breakthrough, rated his debut in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia event as: "Epic. Absolutely epic."
Led by Irishman Darren Wright and representing the Howth Yacht Club in Ireland, the crew chartered the boat from her Australian owners Matthew Vadas and Jonathon Stone.
The Irishmen have a ‘bucket list’ of offshore races, and they had already sailed in dozens of Round Ireland and Rolex Fastnet Races. The Rolex Sydney Hobart was a ‘must do’ event.
Breakthrough was an ideal choice of boat. Vadas last raced her in the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart to 52nd overall. In 2015, she was 12th, her best result after four previous finishes.
Speaking after HYC Breakthrough finished 92nd on line honours in 3 days 10 hours 43 minutes at 11.43pm, Sunday, White smiled and said: "It’s quite a surreal experience, really.
"Coming from Ireland as a sailor, if you ever thought you could end up here, it was probably a dream. Was it a dream too far? Now, we realise it wasn’t."
White is keen to re-live his dream. He said he hopes to return, and that the HYC Breakthrough crew do too. "[This is the] first time for us all ... I don’t think it will be our last."
Irish crewmate Keiran Jameson concurred with White, saying of his experience in the 628-nautical-mile ‘Blue Water Classic’: "It was really great. It had everything in it that we wanted.
"Bass Strait was a fantastic crossing, really exciting. Crossing Bass Strait for us was the dream … and we got a blow as we crossed it. That was perfect … couldn’t be better."
Frederic Puzin, owner/skipper of Daguet 3, only bought the Ker 46 from Australian Tony Kirby a few months ago. He said his Rolex Sydney Hobart debut has left him wanting to return.
"For me, it is the best race in the world, for sure," said Puzin after skippering Daguet 3 to a provisional 29th place overall.
"I am very happy with the boat. We have had to learn a lot about it, but one week ago we started from zero and finally we have a nice place.
"We think we are exactly in the place we imagined to be; and yes, we know this boat has big potential. So, we will be back, for sure."
Now that he has experienced racing Daguet 3 in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Puzin, whose crew included his daughter Doris, will know how and why she has performed so well before.
Daguet 3 is the former Patrice, which finished 16th overall and third in Division 2 last year. In 2017, she finished third overall to win the Blue Water Pointscore series. She was also third in the 2018 PONANT Sydney Noumea race, won the 654-nautical-mile Groupama race and placed second in this year’s Noakes Sydney Gold Coast race.
Puzin, who said the boat will be shipped to Europe, now has the taste for the Rolex Sydney Hobart to maximise Daguet 3’s potential.
"[It is a] very nice race. As we expected, a lot of wind, waves; no wind at certain times. And long runs with the gennaker, full speed was crazy … nice," Puzin said.
"It was a different race because you have a nice ocean, long distance between a country and an island, big waves, very nice boats. Lots of very high level competitors."
Puzin was "very happy" with all of crew, from his marquee French yachtsmen, Nicolas Troussel, who will race the Vendée Globe next year, to match racer Gregoire Evrard, to Englishman Sam Goodchild - and his own daughter Doris, who he is "very proud" of.
By Rupert Guinness, RSHYR media