FORMER Bendigo-based yachtsman Adam Hawkins is celebrating the highlight of his sailing career.
Hawkins was helmsman for Victoire, the handicap winner of this week's Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
For Hawkins, winning handicap honours eclipsed earning the line honours aboard Scandia in the 2003 Sydney to Hobart.
"The handicap trophy is the one everyone wants,'' Hawkins said.
"Winning line honours was a great experience, but each year there's probably only three or four boats that have any chance of winning line honours.
"There was about 90 boats in this year's field and all of those crews would have had dreams of winning handicap honours."
Hawkins, who is now based at Mornington, said leading into the race the crew was confident this could be their year.
"The 50-foot boats have the highest percentage of wins in handicap honours, so I thought we'd be some hope,'' he said.
"The conditions the first two days probably didn't suit us, but we knew if we could be in touch of the German boat Varuna and Wedgetail after the first two days we'd in good shape.
"We knew the conditions the final 24 hours would suit us better and after two days we were in front of them both.
"We got the conditions we wanted on the final day and it worked out really well for us."
Victiore was ninth in line honours in a time of two days, 19 hours and 32 seconds.
The 2013 edition of the race was Hawkins' 11th crack at the event.
"I'll be back again next year, for sure,'' he said.
Hawkins will now turn his attention to defending his Flying 15 National Championship.
The regatta at Lake Macquarie will be held from January 12-19.
Meanwhile, Bendigo's Corvan Hughes arrvied in Hobart aboard Deja Vu on Tuesday night.
The crew of the Victorian yacht had hoped to finish the race one day earlier but difficult conditions at the weekend slowed their progress.
Deja Vu, which was having its first attempt at the Sydney to Hobart, finished 83rd in line honours. Hughes was the helmsman for Deja Vu.