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USA vs Australia showdown ahead of Hobart race

by Lisa Ratcliff on 15 Dec 2007
Rosebud racing in Sydney Crosbie Lorimer http://www.crosbielorimer.com

Just one point separates Fort Lauderdale’s Roger Sturgeon’s Rosebud and Geoff Ross’ Yendys heading into tomorrow’s final day of racing in the Rolex Trophy.

The Farr design STP65 Rosebud’s back to back wins today have put them a whisker in front of the Reichel-Pugh 55 Yendys but as Ross reminded everyone this afternoon…'it’s not over til the fat lady sings'.


Rosebud’s principal helmsman Jack Halterman from Santa Cruz Yacht Club is thoroughly enjoying the tussle with local boat Yendys.

'It makes great sailing; it wouldn’t be fun if we weren’t being pushed. Essentially we are still tied after three days of racing,' said Halterman.

'I’m a competition addict, I love getting out and facing up with the boys,' Halterman added after the crew had debriefed by sitting on the marina using a rubber thong to represent the boat and a beer bottle to represent a course mark.

Halterman is also excited about his debut Rolex Sydney Hobart in 11 days time. 'When you get to my age, you have to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart while you can,' laughed the 56 year old.

Unchallenged for line honours, Bob Oatley’s 30m maxi Wild Oats XI scored its best handicap result so far in the series, picking up a third in division on the last race of the day which was sailed in a 15 knot nor’ easterly sea breeze.

Rosebud is leading the IRC division 0/1 pointscore on 7 points; Yendys is on 8 points with a large gap back to Steve David’s Wild Joe in third on 17 points.

Alan Whiteley’s TP52 Cougar II joined the division 0/1 fleet today for a final pre-Rolex Sydney Hobart shakedown before the crew returns to Melbourne to await the call-up on Christmas day once the turkey and pudding has all but disappeared.

The state of Victoria is well represented in this lead up regatta by the likes of Cougar II, Rob Hanna’s Rogers 46 Shogun, Michael Hiatt’s Cookson 50 Living Doll and Bruce Taylor’s Chutzpah which is sailing with famed Victorian yachtsman Ian ‘Barney’ Walker as tactician.

In only the boat’s second regatta, the crew of Chutzpah is still settling into the brand new Caprice 40 but they can see plenty of potential once the boat is let loose in open waters.

PRO Denis Thompson used the Manly Circle course area today, giving beachgoers on one of Sydney’s most famous stretches of sand a view of some of the Rolex Sydney Hobart handicap contenders going through their paces.

New Zealand BMW Oracle tactician Gavin Brady, who along with owner Alan Brierty is calling tactics on the leading division 2 boat, the Corby 49 Limit, compared today’s course to sailing in Hawaii.

'Like Hawaii, today was about being the first to tack off the beach. It was a ‘must go left’ race course that really suited the big boats,' Brady said.

'We are battling it out with The Philosopher’s Club which is 13 feet shorter and after more than an hour’s racing, it’s coming down to just seconds between us… which is the difference between one good gybe or one good mark rounding and shows that IRC is working'.

Brierty has applied plenty of pressure to have the high profile Brady join his Rolex Sydney Hobart race crew but the America’s Cup sailor is sticking to the deal he has struck with his wife to race to Hobart every second year.

With their worst result dropped, Limit, on six points, is leading The Philosopher’s Club in division 2 pointscore by three points with Stephen Ellis’ Splash Gordon third on 13 points.
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