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Fastnet Race: Kostecki Skippers illbruck to Victory in VO60 Class

Three Volvo Ocean 60 racers competed in this summer's 605-mile Fastnet Race, the ocean classic that follows the end of odd-year Cowes Weeks. AmericaOne's John Kostecki, who is also preparing for the Volvo Around The World Race 2001-2, skippered the VO60 illbruck. The other entries were Yess, skippered by Grant Dalton and Spirit, sailed by Eric Lindgren.

PRESS RELEASE: August 10, 1999

PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND--The first major race for the illbruck Round the World Challenge ended successfully on Monday night when the Volvo Ocean 60 illbruck won its class in the Fastnet Race after two and a half days of intense and exhausting sailing.

After the boat skippered by John Kostecki crossed the finishing line off Plymouth, on England's south coast, the crew celebrated with hot food and English beer.

The illbruck team was setting the standard on Monday morning by the time the fleet was rounding the Fastnet Rock, the turning mark in the 605-mile ocean race. Kostecki and his crew were just over one hour ahead of the Volvo Ocean 60 "Yess", skippered by New Zealander Grant Dalton who sailed "Merit Cup" to second place in the last Whitbread Round the World Race. illbruck was also leading all the IMS maxis on elapsed time and all but one of the seven boats in the Adecco One Design 80-foot maxi class.

Close reaching in a north-easter with windspeeds between 20 and 25 knots, the instruments on illbruck showed averages of more than 20 knots as she sped back across the Irish Sea from the Fastnet Rock. At Bishops Rock, near the Scilly Isles at the entrance to the English Channel, the boat speed increased as the wind gusted to 30 knots.

"All the way back to Plymouth we had two guys on the grinder and one man trimming the mainsheet," said illbruck Operations Manager Thomas Michaelsen. "We were changing headsails up to four times a watch. It was really tough work. Such racing on a leg of 7.000 miles -- that would be just too much for me!" Michaelsen, who has been sailing with the race crew up until now, will work ashore to co-ordinate the activities of the illbruck team for the Volvo Ocean Race Round the World 2001-2002.

With this performance illbruck not only won her class, but also broke the record for a VO60 in the Fastnet Race. A super result and a perfect preparation under tough conditions for the Volvo Round the World Race, the whole crew agreed. The illbruck is already on her way back to Kiel where she is expected to arrive on Friday.

For more in this series of reports, look at AmericaOne's Grand Prix Sailing News page.

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