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ILC 40 Worlds
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Mean Machine Edges Out Pinta for Narrow Victory

GYDINIA, Poland (July 13, 1997) — Mean Machine edged Pinta by just 0.43 point to win the closely fought ILC 40 World Championship today.

Pinta, with AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki as skipper, won the final race, but it was not enough to overcome the one blemish on her otherwise stellar record: a fourth-place finish in Saturday's heavier weighted offshore race. Mean Machine, owned by Peter de Ridder of The Netherlands, scored only a single victory during the week-long regatta, but with no finish worse than third, had the consistency needed to take home the trophy. The two boats will meet again in two weeks during the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup in Cowes, England.

Defending champion Brava Q8 of Italy had a lock on third place from Day 1. AmericaOne skipper Paul Cayard is a regular aboard Brava, but is not sailing this year because of his Whitbread commitment.

Fram XIV, owned by King Harold of Norway, won Saturday's race, boosting her into fourth place overall.

The weather on the final day was more of the same, moderate 12-knot breeze over a flat sea.

All but fifth-place finisher Atalanti of Greece are headed for the Admiral's Cup, which begins July 23. Kostecki will again be aboard Pinta, one of the three German boats.

Final results:

   Boat                  Finishes            Points
1. Mean Machine, NED     2-2-1-2-3-2-3       53.25
2. Pinta, GER            1-3-2-1-1-4-1       52.82
3. Brava, ITA            5-1-3-5-5-3-2       41.69
4. Fram XIV, NOR         8-7-5-7-4-1-5       32.63
5. Atalanti, GRE         4-8-4-8-7-6-4       26.25
6. MK Cafe, POL          3-4-DNF-3-6-5-6     26.00
7. G'Net, AUS            7-6-6-6-2-dnc-dnc   20.50
8. Easy Oars, GBR        6-5-7-4-8-dnf-dnc   17.75

Nautical scribe Malcolm McKeag's explanation of the acrane scoring system used in this regatta:

Points scoring is as per the Green Book, which I hope you don't expect to be simple or straightforward, do you? I won't attempt to bore you with its intricacies — just take it from me that first gets (like you would expect) 6.19 points, second gets 5.25 points, 3 gets 4.5 points and so on logically down to eighth which gets 0.75pts.

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Days 4

Pinta Regains Narrow Lead

GYDINIA, Poland (July 11, 1997) — The German yacht Pinta, with AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki as skipper, moved back to the top of the leader board in the ILC 40 World Championship with two bullets today.

This pushed Mean Machine from The Netherlands back into second place overall. But less than one point separates the leaders going into the final two races, making it a two-boat battle for top honors with just a short offshore race (12 hours) Saturday and a final windward/leeward inshore race on Sunday.

Defending champion Brava Q8 from Italy is 11 points back in third place, but with a 7.69-point lead over fourth place G'Net from Australia.

Yachting journalist and race juror Malcolm McKeag reports that Pinta was a fraction higher than everyone and no slower than anyone. She wasn't the quickest downwind — lost time on every run — but more than made it back on the beats. The Aussies had a much more encouraging day and didn't look far off the pace.

The first race of the day was close fought all the way, with much close boat-to boat sailing. The second was much more straightforward. The wind was a northwesterly 14 knots.

Current standings:

   Boat                Finishes    Points
1. Pinta, GER            1-3-2-1-1       37.07
2. Mean Machine, NED     2-2-1-2-3       36.75
3. Brava, ITA            5-1-3-5-5       25.69
4. G'Net, AUS            7-6-6-6-2       18.00
5. MK Cafe, POL          3-4-DNF-3-6     17.00
6. Atalanti, GRE         4-8-4-8-7       16.75
7. Fram XIV, NOR         8-7-5-7-4       16.25
8. Easy Oars, GBR        6-5-7-4-8       13.75

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Days 2-3

Mean Machine Pushes Pinta Into Second

GYDINIA, Poland (July 9, 1997) — Pinta, with AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki as skipper, traded places with the Mean Machine from The Netherlands following the 167-mile offshore race in the ILC 40 World Championship. This was the third in the week-long, seven-race program for the International Level Class.

Peter de Ridder's Dutch machine won the long-distance race and moved into first-place overall, knocking Pinta back to second place in both the race and the overall standings.

Defending champion Brava Q8 of Italy, owned by Pasquale Landolfi and steered by Enricco Chieffi, was third in the offshore race and retained it's third-place spot overall.

Poland's MK Cafe, with Roamn Paszke steering and Dee Smith calling tactics, ran aground early in the race, broke the main halyard, and did not finish. Here's how British yachting writer Malcolm McKeag described the incident:

MK Cafe, which will be the U.S. team boat in the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup in Cowes in just three weeks time, was sailing close inshore just after the start of the long offshore and already leading the fleet when she went close inshore. As she tacked, she grounded heavily on a rocky shelf.

The impact caused the main halyard to break, letting the main fall down just when the crew had other things on their mind. MK Cafe was soon off, and mastman Wojciech Dlugozima free-climbed to the very top of the toothpick spar as the boat nodded along under headsail, only to try to jury rig a repair. He could not achieve much, and MK Cafe went into quiet water where bowman Morgan Larsen got a block attached to the masthead crane.

MK Cafe set off after the fleet, but 45 minutes later the crane failed and the sail came down again. This time it was back to the dock, and MK Cafe was hauled to reweld the mast (or step the spare), and to check both keel and rudder for damage.

The accident is unlikely to stop MK Cafe from going to Cowes, but effectively puts her out of the championship. All told, seven of the eight boats in the fleet, including Pinta and Kostecki, are slated to compete in the biannual Admiral's Cup, considered the unofficial world championship of offshore racing.

The remaining schedule calls for two windward/leeward races on Friday, a short offshore race (12 hours) on Saturday, and one windward/leeward or Olympic-type triangle race on Sunday.

Current standings:

   Boat                Finishes    Points
1. Mean Machine, NED     2-2-1       27.00
2. Pinta, GER            1-3-2       24.69
3. Brava, ITA            5-1-3       21.19
4. Atalanti, GRE         4-8-4       14.50
5. MK Cafe, POL          3-4-DNF     10.25
5. Fram XIV, NOR         8-7-5       10.25
7. G'Net, AUS            7-6-6        9.75
8. Easy Oars, GBR        6-5-7        9.25

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Day 1

Kostecki at Helm of Fleet-Leading Pinta

GYDINIA, Poland (July 8, 1997) — Pinta, with AmericaOne's John Kostecki as skipper, is leading the ILC 40 World Championship after two races.

The German boat, owned by Willi Illbruck (not sailing), got off to a brilliant beginning, winning the first race and scoring third in the second race to take a narrow lead over Peter de Ridder's Mean Machine from The Netherlands. Defending champion Brava Q8 of Italy is in third place.

AmericaOne skipper Paul Cayard is a regular aboard Brava, but is not sailing this year because of his Whitbread commitment.

It is a small but highly competitive fleet, with any boat capable of taking home top honors. The wind was 15 to 18 knots, with gusts over 20 knots, and flat seas.

The schedule calls for two windward/leeward races (completed), then a long offshore race (24 hours), two more windward/leeward races (Friday), a short offshore race (12 hours) on Saturday, and one windward/leeward or Olympic-type triangle race on Sunday.

Current standings:

   Boat                Finishes    Points
1. Pinta, GER            1-3       10.69
2. Mean Machine, NED     2-2       10.50
3. Brava, ITA            5-1        9.19
4. MK Cafe, POL          3-4        8.25
5. Easy Oars, GBR        6-5        5.25
6. Atalanti, GRE         4-8        4.50
7. G'Net, AUS            7-6        3.75
8. Fram XIV, NOR         8-7        2.25

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