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Rosebud Is Overall Winner Of Sydney Hobart Race

An overall winner emerges at Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 29, 2007 -- The Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Matt Allen this afternoon formally announced the US STP65 Rosebud, owned by Roger Sturgeon (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), as the provisional overall IRC winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The win is only the third by an American yacht, with the previous winners being Ted Turner's American Eagle in 1972 and Kialoa III (Jim Kilroy) in 1977.

Sturgeon described his feelings at winning: "Ecstatic, beyond belief. We know how hard we have worked for a couple of years on this project...we had a plan and we stuck to it. It's just unimaginable, the odds against this were huge. We're tickled to death."

Meanwhile, the skippers of the yachts denied their chances of winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race's major prize, the Tattersall's Cup for the overall IRC winner, due to overnight calms, and variable and transitional winds in Storm Bay, were reflective but getting on with life at crew lunches today.

While the eventual winner, Roger Sturgeon's STP65 Rosebud from the USA, with an early evening finish was tied up at Elizabeth St Pier, Syd Fischer's TP52 Ragamuffin, which placed second, Ray Roberts' Cookson 50 Quantum, placed third, and Geoff Ross' Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys were rounding Tasman Island into a wall of uncertainty.

Quantum Racing was leading the IRC standings from Ragamuffin and Yendys approaching the island, running hard before a strong nor'westerly. The soft winds and calms over the final 41 nautical miles to the finish scrambled that order and handed the win to Rosebud.

The three finished closely under spinnakers before a wafting south-easterly just after 3:00am, with Quantum Racing beating Yendys across the line by two seconds and Ragamuffin another 6min 42sec behind, beating them both on corrected time.

In the end, Rosebud won on IRC corrected time by 1hr 21min 33sec from Ragamuffin with another 36 minutes to Quantum Racing.

Ray Roberts said: "The Cookson was really suited for this style of Rolex Sydney Hobart race because there were two periods of really hard running, particularly the last part down the Tassie coast where we were surfing at about 22 - 24 knots, which was really fantastic and that's where we made up our time on Rosebud.

"We gained seven miles on Ragamuffin and a similar amount on Yendys so we were looking really good at Tasman light. Unfortunately we were pretty much becalmed there and spent an hour flopping around; and then at the Raoul again another period of doing about two knots.

"Then we got halfway up the Derwent and there was a transition from the south-easterly to a northerly sector breeze and then it was really slow going.

"At Tasman light we had 14 miles on Syd (Fischer) and Syd took the 14 miles out of us from Tasman light going north. So it was a gut-busting experience.

"At Tasman I thought, 'you beauty, this is my year'. I've been trying since 1984 and I thought here's my big chance. And I must admit I had to go and sit by myself most of this morning to get my head back into gear.

"You go from expectation to absolute despair so you've got to say at the end of the day it's a boat race; refocus on life and just move on."

Syd Fischer, rather than sadness over the outcome, was excited by the performance of his latest Ragamuffin. He strengthened the Farr-designed TP52 he bought from Roy Disney and gave her a new keel which has added upwind stability and power.

"We were on the plane at times, nearly up to 30 knots," he said. "It's quite different to the other boats I've had. You have to get everyone up on the back of the boat. It planes like hell and when it goes through a wave, it doesn't bury itself. As long as you've got the weight in the right place it lifts straight away. You get a lot of water over the deck but it doesn't bury itself like a submarine.

Second a good effort? "Yeah, I've had a few of them," said the man of few words.

He said Ragamuffin had hurt most in the calm around Tasman Island. "In fact the current took us around the island. We were right in against the rocks. We inched our way around the island and finally got some wind." Bruce Taylor, owner of the brand new Reichel/Pugh 40 Chutzpah, which had also been in the running for the Tattersall's Cup, was similarly more enthused by his boat's performance than the fourth-place result.

In the hard running it twice hit a top speed of 25.4 knots and sat on 20s for minutes at a time. "The boat is a rocket off the wind; a mini Volvo 70," Taylor said.

"We asked Reichel/Pugh for something that would run and reach well on the ocean and that's what they've given me. We struggle a bit around the cans but running and reaching out on the ocean it's a great boat, albeit a bit wet."

Taylor said Chutzpah lost her winning chance not in Storm Bay but in Bass Strait on the race's second night when she was becalmed for two hours and down-speed, doing only four knots, for six hours.

At 6pm, 21 boats had finished and 58 were still racing.


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