Exactly thirty years after the last American boat won the overall handicap honours for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Roger Sturgeon's ST TP 65 Rosebud was declared the winner of the Tattersall's Cup late afternoon.
'It all went like clockwork' said Sturgeon, praising the efforts of his crew in the winning of the prestigious trophy won by Jim Kilroy with Kialoa in 1977.
Speaking of his three handicap wins in the Rolex Trophy, SOLAS Big Boat Challenge and Sydney Hobart he said;
'We're ecstatic, we can't believe it' adding 'I feel like I came to Mecca, meaning Australian boating and yachting, and took away a few trophies, which makes me very embarrassed, but very pleased'.
Asked where he thought the race had been won, he considered the long timespan spent in Storm Bay in light winds was the key.
'We persevered. Even when there was no wind we still looked for it and sailed for it' he said.
Watch Captain Malcolm Park, a composites specialist has been at Roger Sturgeon's shoulder ever since he built a rudder for one of Sturgeon's earlier boats; and he was there again today at the official announcement.
Park places much of the credit for the win with Australian Tom Addis, who works with meteorologist Roger Badham and who was the weather man for team New Zealand at this year's America's Cup in Spain.
'Kevin Miller (the other watch Captain) and I looked at these lows on the weather chart and, based on where we sail on the West Coast of the US, we assumed we were in for a drifter. We were amazed when Tom told us exactly the opposite and to expect up to 25 knots in each low'.
'Tom put us just about every time in the right place for the next change of pressure. We didn't worry too much about VMG (Velocity Made Good) we just sailed for the next pressure change.'
'About the only time we made a tactical error was approaching Tasman light when we expected a header that didn't materialise. The breeze was well up then and I chose a Code 7 worried at the very thing that happened to Skandia would happen to us. We could probably have run with a Code 3 and gone deeper, so we did some extra miles, but nothing too serious.'
Commenting on the qualities of the boat, the first of the Storm Trysail Transpac 65s, Park referred to its deep draft (it has a fixed lifting keel with a maximum draft of 4.8 metres) and the simplicity of the design.
'These bowsprit boats are easier to sail and we've kept the boat very simple so we can manage with a crew of fourteen. Although you need some muscle in the cockpit it allows us to carry lighter crew like me.'
Rosebud's helmsman Jack Holterman who has sailed with Roger Sturgeon for the last seven years said later of Rosebud's owner 'Roger enjoys the science of winning and preparation and that's why we've stuck together'.
It's a science that many others have studied on this race without such rapid success.