Prominent Hobart surgeon, yachtsman and motor sports enthusiast Michael Pritchard and his sailing wife Bianca have bought the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winner Victoire.
The powerful Bruce Farr-designed, New Zealand-built Cookson 50, with a canting keel, now berthed at the DSS, will begin its Tasmanian racing career in spring this year after crew training during the winter.
“Our first races with Victoire probably will be in one of the Combined Clubs long races or the Maria Island Race,” Pritchard told ‘The Mercury’ yesterday, adding that his program included the Launceston to Hobart and Sydney Hobart races.Pritchard and his crew sailed Victoire from Sydney to Hobart just weeks before he finished a close second in the GT2 division of Targa, driving his Dodge Viper ACR.
“Victoire is our family boat,” Pritchard said, adding, “Bianca and I look forward to cruising her as well as racing. She is very nicely fitted out below, capable of extended cruising.”
Recalling the delivery voyage from Sydney last month with a crew of nine, Pritchard said the voyage had been used to “sail her properly and learn from former crew member Bryony Gregory the nuances of the canting keel and hydraulic systems.”
He and other crew members, Jason Wilkie (navigator), Mike Hutchinson, Col Langham (his father-in-law), Stu Beltz, Sam Tiedemann, Jack McCullum and Henry Goodfellow, had had “a terrific kite run across Bass Strait.”
For Victoire’s upcoming Tasmanian campaign, the crew will comprise many of crews from Audere and Emotional Rescue, with Mike Hutchinson as second in command and Jason WIlkie as navigator.
Designed and built in 2006, Victoire has had considerable ocean racing success under several owners and with different names.
Well-known British yachtsman Chris Bull skippered the boat, then called Jazz, to a close second overall in the 2010 Sydney Hobart.
He later sold the boat to Sydney yachtsman Darrel Hodgkinson who won the Cruising Yacht of Australia’s Blue Water championships, the IRC Australian championship as well as the 2013 Sydney Hobart.
Mike Pritchard has yet to sell Audere, in which he began his career in offshore yacht racing several seasons ago, adding: “She is a great boat and will make someone very happy, as she did for us.”
Words: Peter Campbell
11 May 2017