Well, we're on our third Rosebud now, so it seemed like time to update the website.
In 2006 we sold our TP52. Our last regatta was May of that year in Anituga. We had been told we could not compete for the Big Boat Trophy because we were under 60 feet. However, we were still forced to race in the same class as the big boats. We closely corrected over them to finish First in class and fleet. However, we were not awarded the Big Boat Trohy because of the technicality. I was told I'd understand when our 65 footer returned to the Caribbean. I doubted that.
At the end of Antigua Race Week our crew threw Roger into the drink and I dove in after him and we swam from our beloved and successful Reichel-Pugh TP52 to the huge catamaran we'd chartered, Lone Star, where the terrific crew and the cordon bleu chef wined and dined us and our victorious race crew. Rosebud was shipped from there to its new owners and new name, Decision.
After a year without racing on our own boat, (we did a couple of HYC club events with friends over the summer) we took delivery of our new STP65 in May 2007. This Rosebud was designed by Farr and built (again) by Westerly Marine.
This is an elegant ocean going boat. The layout is clean and effective. Three grinding pedestals can be linked by foot buttons on the sole of the cockpit to work any halyard, line, stay, or lifting keel. Most lines are led through conduit below the deck so there is nothing to trip over.
Naturally there are no running back stays. The fore and back stays are hydraulically operated. The floor plan below decks has many bunks with good headroom and a large open area between the foot of the mast, the head opposite it on port, and the galley to starboard and the gangway. I call it, "The Ballroom". It is white and provides ample room for moving sails around. Foreward, ahead of the galley and head, the white paint ends and the entire area is black. (I recommended that a portable, battery operated disco ball, laser light gizmo be employed there during deliveries.) There is a ladder leading up to the forward hatch that makes it easier to fetch the spinnaker on douses.
There is no spinnaker pole (yet). We only use a bowsprit. With the use of the three pedestals the grinders can get the spinnaker up the 90 foot mast in three seconds.
The hydraulic system uses a pump and tubes (naturally) and stores energy in a reservoir so that on buoy races crew doesn't need to come down from the high side to grind in sail adjustments. Theoretically, only one person needs to go down to trim. I haven't seen this work yet. I hope to see it operate at BBS.
At the Hoag Regatta the hydraulics were unoperational. We grinded in a position for the stays, set it, and did our best.
The crew wanted to quit and suggested that to Roger outside of my hearing. When I was told I laughed. They'd all raced with him before, didn't they know he has never ever quit? He'd rather lose or die. (I've seen him douse all sails, bob bare masted while a squall, virtually a tornado, went past him in Lake Tahoe while many others dismasted and had mains explode because they tried to carry sails through it) then raise his sails to finish just to be disappointed that the race had been called.)
In my opinion, the steering is vastly superior to the TP52. It's like the difference between a 1985 Porsche 911 and a 2000 Audi A8. There are kelp cutters on the keel and the rudder. The keel lifts from 15.9 to 10.9 feet for maneuverability into docks. This does seem to adversely affect steering under power and will take getting used to.
The boat and its keel have cradles for shipping if we can't use our preferred Dockwise.
All of the wonderful people who looked at our plans and advised us on the rig and rigging were amazing. The rig, spars, and even the blocks for the sheets are very high tech and use carbon fiber and velcro. And the lines can get snapped in rather than led through. The traveller is clean and safe. The lines are led from the winch down a tube to immediately get to the traveller. There are fewer turns. The jib leads in and out and up and down are hydraulic. All this innovation, at least to me, makes so much sense it feels simpler than the rig of the old TP 52. I got on the boat and looked at it all, smiled, and said, "Of course!" I went down to "The Ballroom" and hugged Roger telling him once agina, "You're brilliant! I could not see why we had to get rid of a winning boat (the TP52) and get something bigger, but this is beautiful!"
But the promise that it wouldn't take anymore people to operate was immediately broken. Since, unlike the TP52, there is no spinnaker pole or struts I joked with Dave to tell Keats when he arrived at LAX that we didn't need him and we'd give him a ride back to the airport. But of course, since the sails are so much bigger we need more guys just to move them around. We hadn't thought of that.
Folding the spinnaker is easier in all that space, but since it's so huge it takes two people just to haul it around while tying it up. It becomes aerobic.
After racing the Hoag, Long Beach, and Transpac I can honestly say that I now understand why the Antigua Race Week people did not want TP52s in the Caribbean Big Boat Series. When I raced on that boat I really thought it was big, even though I always felt crowded. But after racing on the STP65 the TP52 feels like an SC27. The TP52 is a fast boat. It has a great rating, especially since the STP65's rating got changed. But it always was neither here nor there. It was the fastest boat of its size and therefore there was little direct competition from other ocean going yachts. On the TP52 we only had direct competition in a handful of races before the TP52 box rule was changed to allow less seafaring boats to compete around buoys. Otherwise we raced against boats our size that were much slower or boats much bigger. But when a smaller boat races a bigger one around buoys, they always have an edge. They can get their sails down and around and packed to reset much faster than the big guys. In the ocean races they are so far apart, generally, that the ratings can have a huge effect because you are sailing in such different wind.
We hope more STP65s and other competitive boats our size come on the starting line. We're looking forward to meeting new people in new harbors and making new friends while competing for fun.
Roger and I drove to Marina del Rey from SF in a Lincoln Town Car with our blonde toy rastafarian poodle, Figaro. The boat arrived at its dock the same night. Roger, Figaro and I rushed to see it the next morning. Unlike the TP52 which had to grow on me, this boat was love at first sight. We went on its maiden sail shortly after seeing it and it performed amazingly.
Naturally there were some bugs to hunt down and squash. Apparently, the hydraulic pump worked in only three directions, not the four advertised. And we put it in the fourth position. It took some detective work on the part of our chief instigator, Malcolm Park, and our hydraulics expert Jimmy Slaughter, to figure this out and get the system redesigned. Without hydraulics, the boat is difficult to maneuver: think driving a car with power steering when the power steering goes out.
Consequently, we had to alter our race schedule, scrap the long distance race from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, fix the system and pick up only two days of the three day Long Beach Race Week. Roger and crew then sailed over night to the middle of nowhere to satisfy Transpac requirements and work on calibrations.
Picking up Long Beach Race Week instead of racing SF to SB turned out to bite us on the ass. I just wanted to go on the boat again (I really love it) so I jumped at a buoy regatta. Roger wanted time on the water in preparation for Transpac. But we went too fast and our rating was changed for Transpac.
I don't understand all the parameters for ratings so I'm obviously mystified by getting dinged when we built the boat to a formula created by the Transpac Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Yacht Club to rate us at a specified time. We were measured and met the box rule, but our rating got changed even though the boat stayed the same. I don't get it. But presumably there's a logical, objective explanation and I just haven't heard it yet.
So, fast forward two weeks to Roger and my return to Long Beach for the start of the 2007 Transpac (sans Figaro). Roger and crew prepped and sailed and calibrated for Transpac. Dave Cardinali, Andrew McCorquodale, and I went on daily treasure hunts for: watch batteries, 10 1/2 EEE wet shoes, chocolate covered espresso beans, a shower curtain and bite lites among other things. (We finally found the bite lites the night before setting sail.) Roger and Adrienne Calahan colluded on navigational plans and weather forecasts. Malcolm nearly drove himself into a nervous breakdown he felt so responsible for everything (and he really came through -- even ordering some of the classiest luau shirts seen at the awards banquet). Chris Cantrick got Rosebud decals delivered overnight from his buddy in Fort Lauderdale after the Santa Cruz guy we'd used on the old boat went MIA. Jack Halterman, outwardly calm, kept Roger and I grounded, though Roger was acting like an old pro himself. Hazy, Keats, Matt Smith et al. were equally calm, professional and competent.
The day of the start was socked in with typical marine layer and very light winds. Rosebud immediately broke something and repaired it. Within 15 minutes of the start gun Rosebud had three sail changes! Then they settled down and headed south.
Roger and Ado took a gamble. Pyewacket and others were taking all the weather advice at face value and heading north, expecting the normal summer Pacific High pressure zone to move south. With the change in the ratings, Rosebud's big race was against the TP52s and SC70s. With the light wind at our start, the only chance to do better than the predicted 3d to finish, third overall, was if the weather did something other than predicted.
There was a chance of a hurricane off Mexico. If Rosebud headed south and got into the wind on the edge of the storm and the high went north, Rosebud could be First to Finish, and First Overall. Roger and Adrienne, Malcolm, Jack, et al. figured it was worth the chance.
For two to three days it looked like it would pay off. But the jet stream took a dip, the Pac High swooped lower, the storm kept out of reach and the boats to the north got the breeze. Still Rosebud had bought a good position and made a bee line arriving third to finish, third overall, first fixed keel boat to finish (as long as you don't count lifting and only count kanting) and fastest boat under 72 feet (minus the TP52s who have their own special trophy donated by Phillippe Kahn).
Roger figured that Rosebud had sailed more miles than any other boat and still made a great show. The crew was universally happy with the boat's performance and still want to race with us.
Rosebud was refit with a bulb designed for heavier wind, and upwind racing. In the San Francisco Big Boat Series we had tough competition in Samba Pa Ti and others. It was very hard to race boats that were so far behind us and getting different wind. Samba Pa Ti benefited from the wind gods and beat us. We also had a problem with the main sail foil. It is made of aluminum and fastened by short screws to our carbon fiber mast. It did fine as did the mast. But the screws had nothing to bite into so it peeled away from the mast. Our foredeck man, Justin Clougher, had to climb to the top of the mast and lash the main sail to the top of the rig. We lost the regatta in those two races.
After BBS, Rosebud was shipped to Sydney, Australia for a few regattas in December and January. Getting the boat to Sydney was a massive effort by Malcolm Park, Jack Halterman, and Jimmy Slaughter. Rosebud was shipped on top of a container ship from Long Beach. So the mast and rig had to be dismantled and stored. The boat was shipped with its keel on in a cradle. And a container held our sails and equipment. Jimmy flew down to Sydney to greet the boat and put it back together with the help of Anthony Merrington. Their efforts were superb. The only snag was again the hydraulics. Somehow, even though we'd shipped our boom vang out for work right after the SF BBS in late September, it apparently wasn't looked at until after Thanksgiving and then was shipped to Australia without a guaranteed ship date. If finally arrived the day before our first race. Malcolm relaxed visibly after it was installed and proven to work. He is now enjoying himself (as much as Malcolm can). Jack is still worrying about his baby every time we get near the dock.
Rosebud has been doing well in Sydney. The boat has gone out every day since December 6. Roger has been on it everyday since the 8th. I went out on the 8th and it was blowing hard and there were big swells. The crew practiced reefing the main, putting up the storm jib and the storm trysail. I took pictures. (I've also been on it for every race so far.)
Aussies keep asking us how to pronounce Hyannis and what MA is. Today, Dec. 15, someone came to see the boat with a "Nantucket" T-shirt on. She'd heard there was a boat from Hyannis winning races in the harbor and had to come see if it really was from Hyannis. (She's from Connecticutt but used to own a house in Nantucket.) It is really fun to read about Rosebud in the Sports page each morning and read Hyannis, MA as its home port. One headline read, "Rosebud Blooms." Cool! Makes me feel a little like Forest Gump.
In our first regatta, the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, we got a first in corrected time. Wild Oats got line honors.
But that's the short story. The real story was the amazing reality of racing large boats on short legs around a long narrow harbor with spectators all over the place. This harbor is narrower than Lewis Bay in Hyannis. At the start line Rosebud got pinned going south on port tack. There were two large boats below us (whose names escape me now). Most of the crew could only see one of the boats and wondered why they were taking us into the shore. Jack Halterman was driving and a bit flustered because we scattered numerous spectator boats and were yelling at them to "Get out of the way!" We're just not used to that.
The legs were very short and caused a challenge for us to get our sails up, down, packed, and reset. And we were rusty! We hadn't raced in three months. At one point we hooked up our head sail upside down. Ooops!
At another point we got very close to Fort Dennison. The second time around the course, Jack was told to stay farther away for comfort.
As difficult as we found it, I was laughing from shear joy. It was a beautiful day, wonderful conditions, no one was hurt and the scenery was spectacular. Having so many boats out there watching and having Christmas parties while they did, was such a novel and heartening experience. We race because we are daft about it, but to see others share our enjoyment and cheer us on, made it better than ever.
We have just completed the third day out of four of the Rolex Rating Series. We have had two races a day and are now in first place by one point. Obviously, the competition is challenging.
But today was our conditions. The sun was shining, the breeze was 15-18 knots. The seas were flat. We were second to finish behind the 100 foot Wild Oats and corrected to first in both races just before Yendys (spell it backward) and Wild Joe. Yendys is a Reichel-Pugh design with fixed keel about a year old. Wild Joe is a kanting keel boat. To beat these two in handicap was gratifying. And Kevin Miller, our tactitian, called the last lay line to finish amazingly accurately. We had only one jibe in the downwind finishing 2.5 nm leg!
Especially after yesterday in lighter winds. Again, it was a beautiful day. There were bigger swells and less breeze. With our current configuration, set for the Hobart race with a heavy keel, we did not have great expectations. Sure enough, we had a second and a fifth. The crew was not pleased that we could not point in the same way that Wild Joe or Yendys could. But, if we had, we would not have finished as well. It was challenging for our competitive crew to come in so poorly. But Roger and I were satisfied with the results, knowing how the boat is handicapped. And we had some beautiful dolphins dancing around our bow much of the day. We also saw the local sea cow which we had only learned about two weeks ago in Queensland from an aborigine.
The first day of the regatta was just what we'd set the boat up for. It was blowing hard and we had 10-15 foot swells that were setting up irregularly. The wind was blowing against the swells out of the southwest. Down here, that's the worst wind you can get and the north easter is the desired wind. It's opposite land down under. Everyone got beat up just trying to get across the boat on the tacks. Rosebud was fast and loved the wind, but she was smashing her crew around. I was glad Roger and I had life jackets on and was wishing for a harness. I could not believe the race organizers were not requiring them nor that none of our crew would wear them. Silly boys afraid to look like sissies.
As hard as it was for us, it was just as hard for others. One boat was dismasted and had to cut away their new main sail to save the hull. Another boat couldn't release their jib around a mark, got back winded and punched a couple of holes in the boat next to them which was on starboard.
Rosebud got a first and a second in the two races that day. But that night and the next morning, I didn't think I could repeat another day like that. Thank goodness the second day had light wind. What a relief! But Roger and I still followed our habit of wearing our life jackets. It's so much easier to make it a habit, like putting on your seat belt when you drive. All my muscles ache.-- Isobel Sturgeon