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18 July 2007, 10:14 am
Rosebud Has Pyewacket In Its Sights
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Transpacific Yacht Race 2007

Rosebud and the radically modified Pyewacket - essentially, two new, fast but unknown quantities sailing their first ocean races - appeared to be lining up for a Barn Door showdown on their third days at sea in the 44th biennial Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii Tuesday.
Morning roll call positions and Flagship tracking showed Rosebud, Roger STURGEON's STP 65 from Ft. Lauderdale, had ended its dive into the deep south in quest of favourable breeze and turned west toward the islands as Pyewacket, about 200 miles to the north, continued its steady slide directly down the middle of the course, trailed by several other big boats.

The latter include two vintage ULDB 70 'sleds' showing their old form. Brack DUKER's Holua from Pasadena, and Bill MCKINLEY's Denali from Grosse Point, lead Divisions 2 and 3, respectively, boat for boat as well as on corrected handicap time.

At mid-day, Pyewacket, although 29-feet longer than Rosebud with a much taller 130-foot mast, was making 9.2 knots, only six-tenths of a knot faster than Rosebud, suggesting that Rosebud was sailing in better breeze - and Rosebud had logged a race high of 297 nautical miles to Pyewacket's 246 in the previous 24 hours. Also, Rosebud could enjoy a stronger sailing angle when it meets the following trade winds in the next day or so.

As for the threat of Tropical Storm Cosme from waters off Mexico, the National Weather Service said Tuesday that, 'the initial intensity has been conservatively lowered to 40 knots . . . and the official track forecast brings Cosme near or over the Hawaiian islands in 4-5 days. The official intensity forecast maintains Cosme as a weak tropical storm through four days.'

Bill LEE, the entries chairman and design 'wizard' of Transpac, explained the genesis of Rosebud, the only STP 65 built so far: 'After Transpac's success with the Transpac 52, thoughts arose for doing the same type of box rule for a 65-footer. The Storm Trysail Club on the East Coast beat Transpac to it and offered an ST 65. When no boats were started, Alan Andrews and Bill Tripp had a conversation and suggested a cooperative effort, the result being an STP 65 [Stormtrysail-Transpac 65].

'Transpac had a few requirements which were blended with the original boat to yield the new STP 65. Transpac wanted a faster boat with less regard to rating, so the STP 65 is slightly lighter and has slightly more sail area than the ST 65. Deep draft is fast, but because California harbors are shallow, Transpac also needed a draft of about 10 feet for harbor access. The solution: a lift keel with 16 feet of draft in the down position.

'With lots of ballast and the deep draft, the STP 65 is very stiff. She can be sailed hotter with the spinnaker set. This permitted using a fixed bowsprit instead of a conventional spinnaker pole which greatly simplified the boat. Like the TP 52, there are no runners.'

Other boats that started earlier and ventured north to get above a zone of light winds were feeling the pain. Jorge MORALES' Mysteré, a Swan 42 from Dana Point, messaged: 'Sailboats are not exactly Formula 1 cars and if you get stuck, you're stuck. We are stuck. Unfortunately, we've found ourselves in a large hole and have invested all last night and all day today to shift to a more southerly route. We are doing everything possible [i.e., read patience] to work ourselves south to the stronger winds.'

At the same time, for Simon GARLAND's Peregrine, a Hobie 33 from San Diego that started in Division 6 on July 9 and went south, life was good - although it didn't feel that good at first.

'We are the most southerly and least westerly boat, putting us dead last,' Garland wrote a few days ago. 'Navigator Jeff [WESTBROOK] mimes hanging himself, then mimes shooting himself in the head as a coup de grace. But Andy [HAMILTON] reminds everyone that things are exactly as we planned. Our boat needs brisk wind abaft the beam to perform its best. By heading south, we are staying in those breezes, and it shows. We've gone twice as far as the boats that struck out due west. We hope that our south move will pay off as we get to the strong trade winds quicker.'

Tuesday only one boat - Frank EASTERBROOK's Ladd 73 Ariadne in Aloha A - was closer to Diamond Head than Peregrine, 1,295 nautical miles to 1,300.

GARLAND wrote late Monday: 'We are beginning to see signs of the developing trade winds. The boats in the later starting groups, having the benefit of better initial breezes, are roaring up our tails, but we are still fighting hard within our division, against the cannily sailed Brilliant and the tough Cal 40s Far Far and Psyche, who are shooting around behind us to the south. Last night we drank our last two cans of Tecate, the excuse being if we didn't drink them now, they wouldn't be cold anymore.'

Rich Roberts (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Rosebud makes its move:© Rich Roberts
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