AmericaOne's John Kostecki And Crew Win Malaysia Challenge; Best World's Top-Seeded Match Race Sailors in Grand Prix Event
SAN FRANCISCO, California, December 7, 1997 AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki took the helm and won the inaugural Malaysia Challenge Match Race event in Langkawi, Malaysia. The five-day regatta, which concluded Sunday, attracted an international field of sailors including six out of the ten top-ranked sailors in the world; Kostecki, though a nine-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist, entered the competition unseeded, which made the win that much more impressive.
Twelve teams made up of nine invited skippers, plus two teams from an open pre-qualifying event and one wildcard entry from Malaysia – competed in identical Farr 25 boats. Hosted by the Government of Malaysia , and with $100,000 in prize money, this event is seeking to be the site of the Match Race World Championships.
Conditions on the race course off the island of Langkawi were hot and breezy which made for tight, exciting racing with frequent wipeouts down wind. Kostecki and his crew of Morgan Larson, Don Cowie and Alan Smith dominated the event winning three of the four elimination rounds (and runner-up in one) before advancing to the Semi-finals, where they chose to race Gavin Brady, who gained entry from the pre-qualifying event; the other pair was Peter Gilmour vs. Ed Baird, seeded # 1 and # 2 in the world match-race rankings and both head of teams that are fielding challenges for the 2000 America's Cup.
Kostecki and team quickly dispatched Brady 3-0 and went on to meet Ed Baird for the Finals. In the best-of-five Finals, Kostecki beat Baird 3-1 to win the Malaysia Challenge trophy and a total of $28,000 for the event. At regatta's end, a pleased Kostecki commented, "The crew are all proven winners with a lot of match racing experience and they did a fantastic job".
He departs today for Fremantle, Australia, to join the crew of Chessie Racing as tactician for Leg 4 of the Whitbread Round-the-World Race. Kostecki's racing calendar continues to be full. In the coming year, he will compete in several legs of the Whitbread Race, the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit, Key West Race Week, the Mumm 36 Worlds, and the Soling U.S. Nationals. As tactician on the San Francisco-based AmericaOne sailing team, this challenge for the 2000 America's Cup will be Kostecki's third America's Cup campaign.
Final Results of the Malaysia Challenge Match Race Grand Prix: 1. Kostecki (USA), 2. Baird (USA), 3. Brady (USA), 4. Gilmour (JPN), 5. Peponnet (FRA), 6. Pace (FRA), 7. Bank (DEN), 8. Beadsworth (UK), 9. Schumann (GER), 10. Holmberg (SWE)
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