White-knuckle stuff!

When Dr Darryl Hodgkinson isn’t in surgery, you can find him chasing doWn the lead in open ocean yacht racing.

Be it artistic, sporty or cultural, most aesthetic doctors have a hobby or interest outside their day-to-day profession. However, Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson takes the extra-curricular to to a whole new level of extremity.

Dr Hodgkinson and his 50-foot yacht Victoire has seen significant success in open ocean racing. Last August, he finished third-place during SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week in Queensland. In 2013, the Victoire was declared the overall handicap winner of the prestigious Sydney to Hobart race – a win Dr Hodgkinson generously attributes to his 15-man crew.

“I will attribute that win in part to our innovation on the water – changing the way that we did things nearly every second – and to having the right team in place,” he says.

“Racing at this level is very similar to running an O.R. or a day surgery,” Dr Hodgkinson adds. “You need the right team and the ability to deal with exigencies as they arise, and then you’ve just got to hunker down and get through whatever comes you way.”

Unlike many other ocean yacht racing teams, Dr Hodgkinson’s yacht is self-sponsored, affording the doctor gritty underdog status in the world of racing.

“I represent a self-sponsored yacht,” he explains. “I’m just a working doctor who races against multimillion-dollar businessmen and sponsorship yachts – such as by Alpha Romeo automobile.”

“We’re regarded as an underfunded and ‘populist’ yacht. I think we may have popularity as a crew of small businessman who, if they put their minds to it, can win at ocean racing. My name for us is ‘The People’s Choice.’”
Evidently, it’s not for the money – so why does he do it?

“As one of my sailing friends says, ‘it’s one of the most exciting things you can do’,” he says. “It’s thrilling at the start of an ocean race, when huge yachts are jostling to get across the starting line. The speed is great, too, and if you’re on a yacht going 25-30 knots, it’s absolutely thrilling; white-knuckle stuff, actually. The boats are surging down these waves at breakneck speed and racing very close to each other. It’s exciting, really exciting.
“Maybe I’m an adrenaline junkie,” he adds. “No, I just need to achieve something.” AMP