Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Eric’s dream

French sailor Eric de Turckheim dominated racing in Cowes Week off the English coast this year in his 40ft Archambault, Teasing Machine. Although De Turckheim welcomed the success, he still wished to fulfil a dream he held since he was 18, a few moons ago. He dreamed of doing a Hobart.

So, having won the Channel Race this year, won its class in Cowes Week and having finished second overall in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Teasing Machine was put aboard a container ship in France and shipped to Sydney for the start of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day.

With a reputation like that, particularly in heavy weather, everyone in the race kept their eye on Teasing Machine for overall honours in the Hobart race and for most of the race, she was the gun boat.

Then the Frenchmen encountered the River Derwent for the first time and she decided to shut the gate on them, until the breeze filled after sunrise this morning.

Teasing Machine was the 11th yacht to cross the line, sailing in at 0918, robbed of overall honours by the winds of the former colony that French navigators had once charted.

“When you are sailing you cannot be disappointed,” de Turckheim said, leaning over the rail of the boat at King’s marina.

“A race is a race. You know that, especially with the overall, you can have different conditions.

“I always say that in sailing you cannot be arrogant. You cannot think you can win, whatever.

“We arrived in a very good time; we had a great race overall, very varied conditions, we had a tough time at the beginning but we know how to deal with that. We have a very fast boat, especially in heavy conditions.

“That first night it was very manageable; we have two reefs and a heavy jib; we managed very well, no problem at all.

“We went out to sea. We saw it coming on. It was very brutal and then that was it; we just went down south as much as we could. We had to deal with the next transition.

“Then 10 miles from the finish, you are stuck with no wind at all for four or five hours. You know what the result is; there is no question.

“It is a great race anyway. For me it was always a dream when I was a kid, offshore racing when I was 18, to do the Hobart race. To be here is such a great pleasure. There is nothing to describe it. When you have fulfilled your dreams, it is great.

“It has been a very good year for us, overall a very good season.”

Teasing Machine’s next race is the Caribbean 600, starting on February 22, so the boat will sail back to Sydney to be put aboard a container ship for the second time this year. She’ll be sent to Panama, before a skeleton crew sails her to Antigua ahead of racing.

Having realised his dream of competing in the Hobart, Eric hopes to be back again one day in an attempt to win the blue water classic.

“I will certainly consider to do it again because, you know, I say, dreams are dreams. Once, yes, good. You have to come back.”

– Bruce Montgomery, RSHYR media 


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