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illbruck Challenge: Terry Hutchinson Learns About Volvo Ocean 60s

John Kostecki, the Tactician, and the Sailing Team Manager of AmericaOne, is also the skipper of the illbruck Round the World Challenge (IWRC), the first group to challenge for the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2. As the AmericaOne sailing team takes a break, Kostecki (photo, right) is sail testing and crew training off the coast of Spain with his IWRC team. This report is from AmericaOne crew member Terry Hutchinson.

REPORT FROM SANXENXO, SPAIN: April 4, 1999

Greetings all from Sanxenxo, near Vigo Spain. For the past week, I have been participating in an illbruck training session off of the Northwest coast of Spain. The illbruck Round the World Challenge has purchased the two EF boats from the last Whitbread Round the World Race in an effort to win the next Volvo Ocean Race Round the World. So far, it has been AWESOME! I have even more respect for the guys who were on EF Language and their accomplishment. For that matter I have even more respect for all of the competitors in the Whitbread! The boats are exceptionally fast, difficult to handle and require a certain amount of finesse in all conditions.

Team illbruck is being organized by John Kostecki our tactician aboard AmericaOne . I am one of only two people participating in this training session who did not sail in the last round the world race. On the way in from our first day of sailing as we surfed along at 17.5 knots, one of the guys said "look at the smile on the Rookie's face!" I was grinning from ear to ear. Needless to say when we sailed in today at 25.3 knots my grin was as big as ever. I know my parents/wife/and new born son, Elias, don't want to hear this but, I AM ADDICTED!

The speed of the boat is really amazing. We blast reach with a high clew jib and mainsail at 18-21 knots and for the most part in complete control. Speeds like we had today with the masthead kite are easy to reach. Unlike an America's Cup boat, in 25-30 knots of breeze you do not worry about the rig crashing down, blocks blowing up in your face, or the frailty of the boat. That is not to say that I don't have an incredible amount of respect for mother nature or things happening to you on the boat. When maneuvering on the boat you have to walk/crawl very deliberately and think everything out to the tee. Because the boat is moving around so quickly it would be easy to fall and hurt yourself or even worse end up in the drink -- which makes the safety harness and life jacket not optional equipment, but required!

The plan for right now is to learn the systems on the boat and figure out exactly how Paul Cayard and the EF Language guys won the last race, so that we can win the next one. Sounds simple enough, but I gotta tell you, there is a lot to learn! That's all for now.

Terry Hutchinson
AmericaOne

Choose here for more John Kostecki Reports from Sanxenxo. For more about the illbruck Round the World Challenge, visit the IRWC Official Web Site.

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